The Vulgarity of Being Three-Dimensional

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Disko Bay, 2022. Edition of 600 copies.
OTA-bound softcover with flaps, 184 pp., 150 color illustrations, 220 x 290 mm. Photographs b y Tine Bek. Text by James McCann, Michail Mersinis. Design by Spine Studio.

The Hasselblad Photo Book Grant 2021

The Vulgarity of Being Three-Dimensional an immersive new book of works by Danish photographic artist Tine Bek. In this her first monograph Bek tries to escape strict hierarchical structures through a series of aesthetic experiments. The book presents images of shapes that run over, flow, crumble and bulge out. An excess of uncontrolled forms that in the sculptural tradition have been dismissed as vulgar or possibly baroque.

“Vulgarity, from the Latin term Vulgus, was the term for common people, an insinuation of the ordinary. We consider the vulgar to be crude, below our station, brash, crass, rough – terms that are charged with ill interest, with gall, with remorse. What if vulgar was not a bad thing at all, merely a removal of a mask. The slipperiness of expectation slinking away?”  – Words by Isabella Rose Celeste Davey

The book is a mix of still life, other found forms and created sculptural forms photographed. Fruit, material, fabric and figures are brought together and changed by subtle shades of colour. Bek’s photography tend to seem uneasy, as if something might go wrong. Her images impose a sense of discomfort, little cracks beneath the surface. It is through these minutiae ruptures in the surfaces she exposes that a material hierarchy forms – is marble better than foam? Does a stone fountain overshadow a bathroom tap? – she asks you to scratch through the surface and to see what’s behind.

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