___Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs___

 What images represent typically American sceneries? The starting point for the photo series 'The Great Unreal', a project on which the two photographers from Zurich worked from 2005 to 2009, was a scholarship from the City of Zurich. This scholarship allowed the two men to work in New York for a year. From New York, they made numerous trips through the country. Fascinated by the seemingly endless landscapes, they strove to connect the mythological 'America' pictures in our heads with the everyday images that they encountered on the roadside. Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato, who completed their degree in photography at the ZHdK in 2005 and who have been working together since 2003, built models and used illusion tricks of the type known from Hollywood movies. In the background of one photograph, caravans can be seen, loosely grouped to form a settlement, and next to them giant cacti, palm trees and telephone masts. A typical 'American' picture bathed in atmospheric light of the type we seem to recall from films. But in the foreground, there is a gaping abyss which fills the entire lower quarter of the picture ('Abyss'). In addition to such fabricated images, in which reality is combined with models, the photographer duo has decided to also include a series of 'straight' images which are not 'faked' in any way. The effect is astounding: all of a sudden, one does not trust the 'real' pictures anymore, thinks that they too are artificial and fabricated, and this is what the title 'The Great Unreal' alludes to. A highway weaving its way through several rolling hills seems to stretch out into the barren landscape endlessly ('Map'): is this how the view presented itself to the photographers, or did they construct it as a model? In some pictures, the duo reveals its trick box: the model of a country road is seen sitting on a tripod in front of a mountainous country road. Viewers experience particular pleasure when the photographers thus reveal their playful approach to reality and fiction. The photography book 'The Great Unreal' was published by Edition Patrick Frey in 2009.
Peter Stohler


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