REVIEW: TAIYO ONORATO & NICO KREBS – “The Great Unreal” (2009)


 

By Doug Rickard, ASX, March 2010

Off into the wind, and the great-wide-open-never-ever-end beckons… so off you go and it gusts into your ear and it whispers, “have no fear”. Up a path you trot… you are pulled backwards as the dust lights your way and you follow the pull of the dust like a shining beacon into the rear view mirror of your head.

And the blazing sun burns on your cheeks and your smile shines… and you turn and look around at the glorious sound. The colors bounce off the wires in a sizzling symphony… oh, yes, and the earth hears it and sings right along. Hmmmmm, hmmmmmm, hmmmmm… bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz…

 

 


 

And you float on up into a faded blue sky like a leaf that is connected to a branch that is connected to the arm of a towering giant who holds you high, high above his head. Look at those houses way down below on the rubber tire map but then whoooosh, down we go as the sky cracks! We shooooosh down on the color and the sound… and we land, oh so grand! Pop, pop, pop and we skip and then we hop… we go, down another path baby and another and another… off we go into the vast landscape of the connected-flow.

“The Great Unreal” beckons.

‘Cause them UFO’s are a callin’, them trailer parks and them empty malls… the sun splots and the red dots and the bluebird flies and electric-metal-highs. Them drive ins and them NUCLEAR bomb cadillac fins! Blast my face with stale beer and mace – get me movin’ cause I gotta keep on groove-in! Shotgun shells and them “Gawd Damn Hells!” and antlers and trucks and freight trains and ducks and shootin’ range traps and “Holy F-K’s” and claps!

 


 

Now lay back and sleep, into the motel we creep… into the bed and get some zzzzzzz’s into my head… sleep some sheeps right into my caves, dream of canyons and “the glowing light” and voices singin’ “JESUS SAVES”.

And dream of that empty road off into the open forever… there ain’t no end now ain’t there?

Now we’re up in the sky on a BIG MAC high, smell them’ trees and look at them American Mountains – Grand-Stand-American-Band-Coca-Cola TALL! We are rushin’ down on an upside-down-frown, past the DINOSAUR town, past that WHITE POWER sound! past the JUMBO MORTGAGE clown! through the DRIVE-THROUGH-DRUG hug!

Follow me out there baby into “THE GREAT UNREAL”.

 


 

In the book, “The Great Unreal”, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs have taken American Landscape and all of its vast array of interlinked details and massive wide open spaces and trompe l’oeil’ed them into a spider web of connected submission. They have turned the landscape inside out and let you see what-it-is-that-couldn’t-be. They have constructed a network of elements that lead you gently and forcefully down a path that leads to somewhere and nowhere, to everywhere and anywhere.

This tale is like your dream… not every dream but the special dreams… the ones with all of those vast details that are exquisite and clear while you are in it but then you wake up and as you try to imagine the details and convey them to your lover, they all slip away just a bit out of reach. You know that the places are there, that you were there… vast and complex, you were in there with them and you could see the vastness and “the connections”… but then, as you try to look into your minds eye and navigate the pc in your head, the storyline gets all jumbled up and the connecting fabric is much too complicated to remember.

And how the hell are you supposed to put into words something that a hundred thousand words couldn’t possibly describe anyway? You can try to spit out some pitiful impotent words but you can’t do squat compared to what you saw and so, you just leave it then with your feeling, and your knowing… your feeling of “the vast plot” and world somewhere out there… deep inside your head.

Pick this one up. It is one that you will go back to again and again, sort of like Dorothy, clickin’ your heels three times and then turnin’ the pages to let yourself be swept up into a strange and delicate analogue tornado and dropped beautifully and oh-so-musically into “The Great Unreal”

It’s one of “the ones”.

 

 

 

 

The Great Unreal.
Photographs by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.
Editions Patrick Frey, 2009. 148 pp., Color and black & white illustrations, 9×13″.

 

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