Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (Swiss, both b. 1979) work collaboratively in photography, video, and installation. Their work responds with humor and wit to various traditions of modernism: rational architecture, documentary photography and transcendent abstraction. By pecking at such "constructions," the artists reveal a more whimsical, ironic and subjective modernism — a modernism that has at once visibly failed yet also shows signs of vigorous renewal.
The first large museum exhibition of Onorato and Krebs in the US, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs: The One-Eyed Thief at the CAC comprises disparate yet interrelated bodies of work. The Great Unreal, based on road trips made in the US between 2005 and 2008, deals with the subject of America through the iconic action of the road trip; a similar series of work was achieved in 2013, based on the artists' travels through Central Asia. For the Constructions series of 2009–2012, the artists photographed modernist buildings in Berlin, where they currently reside. Another notable series is the Spins; as with the Constructions, the artists recreate through found materials and extreme camera angles a mysterious, evidently fabricated and fanciful vision of modernism.
Onorato & Krebs's work opens a fertile dialogue on the subject of artistic collaboration as well as the "expansion" of photography as an artistic medium. Though much of their work is photographic, and is informed by the history of photography, the artists' engagement with other media — film, sculpture, sound art — opens organically onto other vistas of historical modernity and contemporary life.
Based in Berlin, Onorato & Krebs are recipients of the FOAM Paul Huf Award (2013) and the Swiss Design Award (2011). They have had solo exhibitions at le Bal, Paris (2013); FOAM, Amsterdam (2012); and Kunsthalle Mainz (2011). The artists' work was shown at PS1, New York, in 2006, as part of a series titled International and National Projects, and at the Swiss Institute, New York, in 2008.