FMP - Penelope Umbrico

One of the recommended recently by Wendy McMurdo artists was Penelope Umbrico and her TV Screens project in particular. I know her very well known sunset series but never really looked at her other works.

Her seemingly simple and playful projects are in fact thoughtful and inspiring. Regarding the famous Suns (From sunsets) from Flickr) Joanna Zylinska points out:

“Umbrico’s principal interest is not in the banal visuality of the sunset but rather participation in the collective practice of sharing something you cannot claim authorship over.”

I went through her projects and I am seriously amazed with the conceptual layer in all of the projects which in one way or another comment on the contemporary consumptionism.

The ‘TVs from Craigslist’ is simply brilliant. It is a collection of magnified fragments of the images capturing the TV’s for sale. In this monotonous and unappealing visually typology there is a real hidden pearl - Umbrico is collecting the unintentional self-portraits of the owners of these TV’s reflected in the screens.

“Out of order” is also very interesting with the photobook as one of its outcomes.

“Penelope Umbrico’s Out of Order attempts to make sense of the crisis in an unexpected place—the sale of used office furniture. At once a portrait of the optimistic hope that fuelled the collapse, the mundane display of desks and plants is also a portrait of failure—the refuse of a crisis.”

“Printed using three different types of paper (matte, glossy and newsprint), a variety of different printing methods (offset, risograph, and photocopy), and various paper sizes, the book has a slightly disorienting quality. Unbound, the pages are loosely assembled in a black folder, which on closer inspection is actually a dark, pixelated close-up image of a desk, and held together by a red elastic band. The loose arrangement of pages not only allows their sequence to be changed, but also causes the book to literally fall apart when opened—a fitting design choice given the book’s subject. In sequencing the book, Umbrico nestled each folded signature allowing the images to be broken by the gutter and fold, creating disjointed geometric lines and new shapes. Paging through the book, the desks quickly become disarticulated, split apart along the folds, divided by the gutter, and reshuffled by collation.”

I ordered her photobook available on Amazon as I want to produce the simple one for my project too and I am gathering the interesting and unique examples. Umbrico’s works are definitelly a great example of such a publications