Robert Cumming: The Difficulties of Nonsense

Aperture, 2016

The Difficulties of Nonsense, a book of Robert Cumming’s photography contains a conversation between Cumming and David Campany.

Published by Aperture, edited with text by Sarah Bay Gachot.

In the 1970s, from his base in Los Angeles, artist Robert Cumming (born 1943) made functional-looking but ultimately useless constructions, created primarily to be photographed with his 8×10 camera. Playing with props, proportions, unusual angles, light and mirrors, Cumming invited viewers to look in—and then to look again, second-guessing what they saw. The Difficulties of Nonsense is the first comprehensive publication to survey Cumming’s significant series of conceptual black-and-white and color photographs from the 1970s, now a touchstone for contemporary artists, and to focus on the artist’s fascination with illusion and trickery. This monograph pays homage to a time when Cumming, and many in the photographic community, worked to playfully push the boundaries of photography and narrative.

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Robert Cumming, Watermelon and Chair, 1982

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