Research: The Subverted Object

 research: screwdrivers
Literal Meaning
A tool with a flattened or cross-shaped tip that fits into the head of a screw to turn it.


Symbolic / Cultural Meaning
 A cocktail made from vodka and orange juice.


  Sonic Screwdriver from the British TV series “Dr Who”.

It is an iconic feature used by the Doctor in almost every episode.

It functions like a magic wand that allows the owner to do the impossible.



Similar-looking objects
BBQ Skewer




Soccer table handle


research: Artist references
Photographer: Chema Madoz
B a c k g r o u n d   +   P r a c t i c e

Chema Madoz is a spanish surrealist photographer whose works cleverly subverts objects by placing them in unexpected contexts to give them new meaning, new functions.

Is this a dish washer or a drain?

Is this a cloud or a tree?

Is this a horizon or a protractor?

Is this a flame or a wooden groove?

Wearing these pair of slippers is no different from walking bare footed.

There is a slice of pie even though there is no real pie.


Miniature Artist: Tanaka Tatsuya


I’ve been following his Instagram page for quite some time already and he immediately came to my mind when I thought about artists who cleverly subvert their objects.

B a c k g r o u n d   +   P r a c t i c e

Tanaka Tatsuya is a miniature artist who uses everyday tiny objects to create landscapes that make them look bigger than they are, making them feel “larger than life”.

The stapler bullets as a travelator.

By lining up the small stapler bullets in this manner and adding in tiny humans, our minds perceive this to be a travelator, a structure that is larger than its original form as a stapler bullet.

The pad-locks as public transport / airport gates.

The small objects he uses often possess similar physical attributes as the larger structure he portrays in his photographs. He usually doesn’t alter the object’s physical form so this helps the viewer associate the object with the perceived larger structure better.

The thermometer as a canoe.

The thermometer already has a similar shape as a canoe, so this allows our minds to perceive it as a canoe more clearly.

The green sponge as the grass, the yellow as the sane, the blue as the sea.

The sponge is an object small enough to hold in our hands, yet can be as large as the beach in Tatsuya’s work.

The nails as the skyscrapers and the electric plugs as houses / other buildings.

The holes in the plugs look like windows, so cute!

The brush as a wheat field being harvested.

The side view of the pages of books as torrents of rain and wind.

The toothbrush as a shower chamber.


Leave a Reply