Shopping Poetry, 2012–
Ivars Gravlejs’s work pushes the boundaries of the language of photography in an attempt to break with rational and ordered expectations, an approach that owes much to the art movements dada and 1970s and 1980s German conceptualism.
Shopping Poetry is an ongoing series that Gravlejs began during an artist residency in Schöppingen, ) Germany. It was initially inspired by the facial expressions that shoppers make when looking at their grocery receipts. The artist’s methodology is simple: Gravlejs generally chooses the products spontaneously based on factors such as visual beauty and cost. At the till, he organises the items on the belt so that they not only work aesthetically, but also result in a receipt that can be read poetically, and takes photographs with his compact camera of both: the still life and the receipt. When he is not allowed to take pictures inside the shops, he reorganises the goods over different surfaces afterwards following the order in the receipts.
Shopping Poetry finds beauty in ordinary products, reinventing the traditional still life. The project is a playful reflection on the mundane process of acquiring commodities in contemporary capitalist society.
Gravlejs was born in Riga in 1979. He lives and works in Prague.