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“captionthis” is a long term project on the shifting relationship between Image and Word today. The title hints at the online vernacular saying and forum tag “captionthis”, where weird and witty images are deemed untaggable or “beyond words”. The layered works use the problematic aesthetic of advertising and the appealing allure of glossy images, testing their limits of critique, provocation and seduction.
The process: all the works contains a combination of graphic and photographic languages. Some of them frame classic photographs of words, as in the previous work “Foto Grafia”. Others combine an original image and a textual intervention on site-specific surfaces (billboards, glass, perspex) extracted from another photograph, resulting in a new kind of icono-textual work. The materials: inkjet prints, frames, glass/perspex, transparencies, decalcomanias, become all parts of the three-dimensional works, combined with the most standard devices for the fruition of images today, such as backlit lightboxes and decal signs.
There are no hierarchies or strict narratives in the series of photographs: all prints are the same size 100x80cm, in white frames and lightboxes, always presented independently in site-specific installations. Often shot as outtakes or re-contextualization of commissioned works and familiar images, the series imitates and subverts the rules of stock photography, documentation and portraiture. Classic tropes and clichés of the history of iconography become unresolved rebus: memes missing their textual wordplay or illustrations of unspoken ideas.
Through techniques of manipulation borrowed from the urban and online accelerated mediascape – as the proliferation of backlit devices, the repetition of graphic logos and recurring subject matters – the installations question the cultural and political assumed value of the images that stick to our psyche and shared worldview.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1, John). “Words without thoughts never to heaven go” (Hamlet, Shakespeare). In the time of ubiquitous photography and disappearing writing, mimetic and memetic representations, “captionthis” is a portrait of the conflicting hybridization of iconotexts today.