Chad Gerth

Artist Statement

Candy Wrappers, 2002


Moving between the multi-dimensional world we live in and the 2-dimensional world of photography requires a unique transformation. Though photographers and consumers of photography for more than a century have refused to admit it, that which appears in a photograph is no longer a part of this world. In fact, the only things that can retain their original shape (or lack thereof) are ideas.


These photographs of candy wrappers make explicit the difference between our physical reality and the fiction of the plane. Not only the photographic plane, but the plane of dissection whereupon 3-dimensional structures become objects for critique and analysis. Though meant to cover the shape of candy or chocolate, these plastic and foil wrappers are actually 2-dimensional surfaces. As they lose their intended shape, they gain new significance–as objects of consumption and seduction.


Through the use of language and graphic design, these wrappers become a seductive skin for the stuff within. But how often do we dissect them? How often do we read their 2-dimensional fictional language without the illusion of their 3-dimensional form? Which state is the most truthful?


Chad Gerth is interested in the intersection of technology, commerce, and contemporary culture. His work comprises time-lapse images of LP records playing, flattened candy wrappers, and the architecture of urban driving ranges in Japan. He works in series, often treating his subjects as biological specimens or scientific studies. Since his emergence in the late 1990s, Gerth has developed his own unique style of photography including the use of photograms; passing light through broken glass and ice directly onto orthographic film to create enigmatic x-ray like images. 

Gerth has written about his work: "Photographs are two-dimensional by nature, so the extra-dimensional information on the surface must be deciphered by some other process, most often memory. Object and event become process; process becomes surface; the surface holds information which can be revealed but not decoded." Gerth was born in 1975 and received his BFA from Ryerson University and his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.