Small Worlds

about Frank Kunert

A multi-storied apartment building with gray-beige stucco: the epitome of lower middle-class tristesse. A throw rug and a doormat hang over the balustrade of a balcony. Another has a single flower box, a third, a deck chair. A familiar sight at first glance. After a second or third take, however, it becomes perfectly clear that something is amiss. The balcony doors lead nowhere, and the balconies themselves are not accessible.

In Apartment with balcony, there is no architectural scandal attempting to be uncovered by photographer Frank Kunert. The photograph stems from a series of works entitled Photographs of Small Worlds, which ingeniously, slyly and subtly play with our sense of perception, as well as with our expectations — taking both ad absurdum.

The project Small Worlds is far from being mere photographic satire. Instead, Kunert has spent weeks, sometimes even months, working with deco boards, plasticine and paint, in order to model his thoughts in 3D. With an exceptional eye for detail, he has constructed faultless models, and created scenes that look just like the real thing. Kunert never flicks on his studio lights and reaches for his large-format camera until he feels that his models have reached a state of perfection — until they have become little worlds of their own. They are, in their symbiosis of idea, image and caption, just as multi-dimensional as excellently-crafted written narratives. On the surface, these photographs confront us with all of the hollow words, catchphrases and banalities we encounter in our daily lives.

Born in Frankfurt in 1963, Germany after graduating from high school, Frank worked for various photo studios. He went freelance in 1992, and it was then that he began to find the topics that interested him the most.


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