I’m not sure photographer Pete Deevakul ever really answered one of my questions. Although he gave me responses, I’m still pondering whether he once entirely addressed my questions for how they were phrased or what I was asking. And yet, his analogies, stories and comparisons made perfect sense, and did indeed give me insight into how his creative process develops and how his work comes to be.
Deevakul’s work is an exercise in juxtaposed harmony. For all the objects that make it into the image, despite how mundane or everyday they may be, they all altered, built-up, layered and places so they often appear as something else. Something that somehow makes perfect sense. And given how he describes his work it’s clear how in this clutter and chaos Deevakul’s creative reasoning, which he describes as; “Observationally oriented, logic resistant and photoshop compliant”, finds balance.
“The mode of production has come to resemble the mode of dissemination. The objects that come before the camera are picked from the stream of everyday life, the images are made, and then put back into the stream of circulation. If layers become apparent, it’s likely because of an internalization of software logic; Photoshop being not simply a tool, but a mode of thinking. It’s about knowing the possibilities in post-production influences how things are setup in physical reality.”
He explains, through a story about visiting the architecture office of Tsao and McKown, how he came to realise that despite a space being filled or bursting with objects they can be completely organised according to a particular logic and respect.
Deevakul believes “All the materials could be seen as “everyday”, but they also feel spectacular in their potential application”.
This application, besides the layering and placement, also involves reflection.
“It’s important that the pictures are clear, even if what is pictured isn’t.” Although this seems ambiguous it certainly rings true when you view Deevakul’s work as a whole. The language written by the objects as a group is more important than what they mean as individuals.
“When physical space is receding in the photographic process, when things can exist in platonic ‘idealized’ spaces in post-production and later again– as the pictures live their lives on screen– photographs can serve as ‘windows’ to different worlds and subjectivities. But I also see pictures as more active agents, inflecting the world and our understanding of it, our attitude towards it.”
Colour also plays an important part in what one could describe as Deevakul’s unconventional style, and certainly his explanation of it is anything but conventional.
“What are the essential nail polish colors next season? What are the essential nail polish colors RIGHT NOW? What are the classic essential nail polish colors everyone should always have? I find it great that color can be the subject of a focus group, that it can be forecast, that it can appear as a result of millions of dollars of research and testing.”
It seems then that just like the objects, it’s not about the colour specifically but more about how we feel about it, especially when it’s placed alongside others. Undoubtedly Deevakul’s colour and object choices resonate with his “logic resonate ” application, yet when viewing it I see an image that makes perfect sense.
And just like this interview, when I looked at it individually I was overwhelmed by all the angles and pieces, yet as a whole his words ring true. He is indeed a creative wonder
Words / Jamie-Maree Shipton