Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are photographers whose work questions modes of visual representation. Most notably, the duo focus on the ways in which the media disseminates images of war and the relationship between documentary and constructed images. Broomberg studied Sociology and History of Art, while Chanarin holds a degree in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence. Combining their respective interdisciplinary backgrounds the artists produce their own research projects and books.
Broomberg and Chanarin are at the forefront of redefining the photographic medium: applying both conceptual and stylistic treatments to their work, experimenting with new media technologies and challenging photographers’ predatory relationship with subjects. Akin to other artist duos such as Gilbert and George, Broomberg and Chanarin describe themselves as “working with one brain.”
War Primer 2 was created as a sequel to a Bertolt Brecht’s 1955 publication of the same name. While Brecht’s project reflected on almost thirty years of intermittent activity, Broomberg and Chanarin’s version revisits and revises a compilation to reflect current political climate and directly addresses the “War on Terror”. The title purposefully recalls the textbooks used to teach elementary school children how to read, with Brecht’s book acting as a practical manual, demonstrating how to “read” or “translate” press photographs.
Exhibited in Open Heart Surgery, American Landscapes is a minimal, architecturally driven, stylistically concerned and aesthetically dramatic series, introducing the interiors of commercial photography studios across the United States as its subject. The artists invert the classical tenets of composition, moving the spatial environment in which photographs are created to the forefront of the flatted plane. Lyrically abstract and poetic, often monochromatic and bare, the works are composed of double surfaces injecting walls, floors and ceilings with a dynamic force. At elemental and linear junctions light converges to create a pristine white space known in the photography industry as Cyclorama. Broomberg and Chanarin refer to these spaces as ‘scenography for a free market economy’ or simply ‘Landscapes’. For just as the American West came to represent boundless possibility in the minds of early pioneers, so these studio walls act as a blank screen on which any sort of fantasy may be projected, much as the White Cube of the gallery world.
Broomberg and Chanarin are based in London. Together they have had numerous international exhibitions including The Gwagnju Biennale, the Stedelijk Museum, The International Center of Photography, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, The Photographers’ Gallery and Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art. Broomberg and Chanarin are Visiting Fellows
at the University of the Arts London. Their work is represented in major public and private collections including Tate Modern, MoMA, the Stedelijk Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Musee de l’Elysee, The International Center of Photography and Loubna Fine Art Society. Most recently, they have been awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013, and their War Primer 2 series is currently being exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art as part of the New Photography 2013 exhibition.