TOO MUCH PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Coming of age during the seventies, Branimir Karanovic belonged to a generation of artists who brought on a new perspective to both photography as a medium and the world which surrounded them. During all this time, Karanovic has been balancing between black-and-white and color photography, always maintaining an urban thematic framework in order to research and portray the paradoxical and ironic scenes, situations and states of modern society. In the case of this author, this aim was most evident during the nineties, when he focused on objects found on flea markets and junk yards, broken or improvised basket hoops, patched up car awnings and signs which were inherent to that cataclysmic period. He combined photographs of these elements into series of puzzles with a striking narrative.

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This exhibition, which contains both new and old works, also indicates the paradoxes and anomalies of a society in transition. Much like the previous exhibitions, such as Patchworks or Multiplications, it poses a series of questions which cannot be given a single or simple answer. The difference, however, is that this time the questions refer not only to the social stage but to photography itself. In the first, black-and-white series, Karanovic uses photography to document (among other things) the objects from flea markets and junk yards, with regard to the basic principles of composition. On the other hand there is the series of color photographs belonging to a thematic framework which can easily be connected with an observation by the American critic and art historian, Douglas Crimp – While it once seemed that pictures had the function of interpreting reality; it now seems that they have usurped it. 

 

From the moment that analogue photography mutated into digital, it became clear that things would never be the same. Computers, scanners, printers and digital cameras made easier not only the production, but the distribution of photographic images as well. To artists they present new forms of expression and research. However, in a much wider context, one that relates to mass production and consumption, photography has become nothing more than a cheap and therefore effective instrument used for manipulation and advertising of everything and anything. This starting with the original campaign posters of political parties, street billboards, clothing and everyday objects, up to the gigantic, colorful photographs now present on almost every street corner, public or private building, square or public transportation, ultimately leading to a plethora of imagery and information. And much like in the case of junk yard and flea market objects, or the broken hoops and signs, our society has grown accustomed to this new form of visual pollution.

Jelena Matic

(translation: D. Karanovic)