Two years after their successful show at P.S.1, Swiss artists Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs return to New York for a solo presentation of their latest work. Instead of traveling the American West to produce photographs on the road (as they did for Twilight Switch in 2006), the two artists deliberately escaped the buzz of the city for Upstate New York. In the seclusion of a country house, they dreamed up a refreshing vision of a sculpture garden that riffs off academic tradition with ironic assemblages. In The Whole Shebang, seriousness is coruscated by whimsical humor.
Onorato and Krebs derive their installations from the context of their photographic shootings, in which humdrum objects and props are accurately arranged to create surreal constellations (echoing Lautréamont’s famous encounter). Lately the two artists place less emphasis on the photographic image to concentrate on the assemblage of objects. Often they set up rules and consider the production of sculpture as a game, passing the ball from one to the other. In Transformer Block the statuette of a Madonna transmogrifies into a gun and then a camera to eventually turn into a religious figure again. The installation Growhomes gathers dollhouses with green roofs and on stilts. Due to the strong plantation lamps hung above them, the rapidly growing vegetation causes the cottages to tumble.
The Whole Shebang is set out to be a course in-between impromptu and déjà vu, applying the irony of postmodernism on an exigent practice of sculpture. Both born in Switzerland in 1979, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs have worked together for more than six years on different projects and exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Onorato & Krebs graduated from the School for Art and Design, Zurich in 2005 and were awarded the Photo Grand Prix from the Hyeres International Fashion and Photography Festival in May 2005. They received an art grant from the City of Zurich, allowing them to live and work in New York in 2005. The following year they had a solo show at P.S.1.