Swiss photographer Federico Naef traverses between worlds. From explosive excursions into pop culture aesthetics to scenes in a retro style, Naef portrays his subjects in a variety of ways. The one thing all of his piece have in common, however, is their highly narrative quality, telling of exciting journeys, seemingly random scenarios, and pop culture phenomena. He translates these stories into his unique visual vocabulary, which often ventures into the arena of exaggeration or the grotesque.
The artist does not go out in search of inspiration. On the contrary, Naef says, it finds him. For his Eat Me series, inspiration struck in the form of canned food. At a remote gas station in Namibia, Naef encountered a mountain of peculiar cans of spaghetti and meatballs. He could not get the image out of his mind. This can, the design on its label, and, of course, its contents were the impulse behind Eat Me. Naef sets these striking elements in a ‘50s-style kitchen with captivating colors, taking a satirical look at consumerism. As with Andy Warhol before him, a humble can of food was the impetus behind extraordinary art.
In “Penny & Wuffy”, the dog dish, the canned food, and the casually wielded revolver inevitably form pop culture references in the viewer’s mind. In another of Naef’s works, the can is examined with the utmost care, as though it were from another world, its contents assumed hazardous. Federico Naef’s memorable images, scenes from a spectacular world, remain firmly ingrained in our minds.
Born in 1962, Federico Naef lives and works in Zurich. Completely fascinated by photography, he left university mid-degree to dedicate himself to the medium. Stints in the worlds of fashion and press photography, as well as a specialization in still-lifes, have brought him to his current standing in the creative world. Naef credits time spent on the job in Los Angeles, Paris, and New York as a strong influence.