Karsten Bott: One of Each
Since 1988, Frankfurt-based artist Karsten Bott has been collecting everyday objects--often discarded--and cataloguing them. Currently, his archive contains an unbelievable 500,000 objects. Bott is interested in making an archaeological inventory of things people need, noting how they use them and how these objects are related to one another. For One of Each, which is designed like a small dictionary or encyclopedia, he photographed more than 2,000 objects in his collection, which were carefully measured and alphabetically organized according to subjects such as “Bedroom,” “Jewelry,” “Sex” and “War.” Within the “Film” category, for example, one might find a photograph of an Oscar award reproduction, as well as an old popcorn bucket. The photographs of the objects are taken in an unbiased, straightforward manner on a grey background, with dimensions and labels listed below. Bott’s work might remind the reader of Ed Ruscha’s famous artist’s books from the 1960s and 1970s, or Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum. This encyclopedia of human detritus raises questions about the relationship of objects to people, what we save, what we discard and how much we consume.