Arrested Development in Thomas Mailaender’s Man Cave

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In a world of excess, Mailaender sees the work as his contribution to the increasingly fashionable ‘waste not, want not’ movement of the art world – he recycles other people’s images, using them as the basis of a new meaningful arrangement.
‘There’s so much photography available in the world right now and available on the internet,” he says. “Why not play with all this stuff?”
Gone Fishing, first published in a photobook, now finds itself in various performative iterations – the first as part of the Tate Modern’s ‘Performing For The Camera’ series, running until June, as well as a solo exhibition at the East London-based Roman Road.
Thomas Mailaender, Feeding Bubbles #8, 2010. Printed 2015. Lambda print, 11 x 15 cm (32 x 23 cm with frame), edition of 3 plus 1AP. (c) Thomas Mailaender
For the Tate exhibition, which aims to explore the relationship between still photography and performance, Mailaender finds himself in the company of sixty international artists.
“I’m super proud to be part of it and the curation totally suits my work,” he says. “I’m always trying to take photography out of this genre, because it can feel very restrained.”
In an exhibition loaded with static, framed photography, his multimedia background brings a welcome installation – one that exemplifies his innovative photographic practice.
His letters home to his pregnant partner are recorded and played over the top of a diorama of the photos, all framed within a 100-year-old plane tree found on the outskirts of Paris.
“I like to emphasise man’s attitude and go into cliché,” he says. “In Disney films, you always have a tree with this hole inside – it’s very romantic and maybe childish but I wanted to take it and twist it.”