Four Corrugated Cubes from One

cumming_robert_157_1985a
Robert Cumming, Four Corrugated Cubes from One, 1980 (157.1985)

As exemplified in this photograph, Robert Cumming would often create elaborate DIY-looking objects, structures, and situations for the sole purpose of making his pictures. In 2001, Howard Yezerki Gallery published a book of Cumming’s Sketch Boards for Fabricated Photographs, displaying the photographer’s extremely logical application of nonsense as clearly planned strategy. While his deadpan humor is characteristic of conceptual artists working during the 1960s and 1970s, his photographs, which were often made using a large-format camera, overtly endorse pictorial and aesthetic concerns at odds with the deskilling favored by conceptualism’s practitioners. The simple and descriptive nature of Cumming’s titles often contrasts with the sheer absurdity of his depictions. Today, Cumming’s experimental work strongly resonates with contemporary photographic practices concerned with montage, layering of images, and the construction of a complex photographic and pictorial space through both analog and digital means.

Emile Rubino, ICP-Bard 2017

 

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About claartjevandijk

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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