1/29/2016

A POTATO AS A PROXY FOR THE ONTOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. 
[Albert Einstein]

What we have: A photograph of a potato, titled Potato #345. Made by "celebrity photographer" Kevin Abosch. In my opinion quite a bad photograph, technical and in a creative manner. This photograph was sold recently for $1.08 million. Is a photograph of a potato worth a million dollars? That’s not for you or me to decide, ultimately. It’s for the buyer. But it is a prime example how crazy the art market can go from time to time (not to talk about collectors) - the art market has been operating at borderline insanity levels, price-wise, for decades. Or, as one commentator stated: "It's what happens when the inmates are in charge of the asylum".

The One-Million-Dollar-Potato

Kevin Abosch is not the first photographer making pictures of vegetables. Actually every student of photography has to do such exercises in his first term at art college. Great photographers like Edward Weston made a lot of them (though not of potatoes). You can get one of his famous Pepper #30 vintage prints for around $15,000 at the moment. But ok, it only took Weston 30 tries to get his famous photo. Potato #345 is the result of an order of magnitude more effort. But just imagine the collection of really good photographs you could put together for $1.08 Million...

Pepper #30 by Edward Weston
Maybe the buyer of Potato #345 was convinced by the profound philosophical thoughts of the „artist“: "[...] potato as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience. I see commonalities between humans and potatoes that speak to our relationship as individuals within a collective species ... Generally, the life of the harvested potato is violent and taken for granted." If so that would at least proof that Einstein was right...

Potatoes #1 by Chris deMatté

The whole story is, for me as an artist, not very funny. Others found at least some comical aspects in this story: In a comment somebody noted: "I'm just disappointed the potato photo wasn't an autochrome*. And just wondering: can one distill vodka from autochrome prints?"



* Autochromes, an early color process developed by the Lumière brothers in France, were made using potato starch.

No comments:

Post a comment