Dezeen Magazine

Five provocative projects by artist Max Seidentopf

Five provocative projects by artist Max Siedentopf

Artist Max Siedentopf caused outrage with his depiction of people wearing various everyday items as coronavirus masks. Here are five of the artist's provocative works.

Namibian-German artist Siedentopf later apologised for his coronavirus mask series, but has courted controversy before with projects including his installation of binoculars at Tate Modern to allow visitors to see into adjacent flats.

"Most of my work takes a critical and often ironical look at our surroundings," Namibian-German artist Siedentopf told Dezeen following the controversy surrounding his masks.

"It's important for me to take people out of their comfort zone and see things from a different perspective, both positively and negatively. But, ultimately, it's up to them to interpret my work as they want to."

Here are five of Siedentopf's works that aim to challenge people's views:

Five provocative projects by artist Max Seidentopf

Tools To Secure School Safety And Security, 2018

For this photo series, the artist created weapons from everyday items of stationery and other items commonly found in schools.

According to the artist, the series "tries to illustrate in a lighthearted way how the innocence of fun, home-made weapons has been taken from us".

Five provocative projects by artist Max Seidentopf

Funny Money, 2016 

Siedentopf's Funny Money photo series aims to draw attention to the common practice of tourists in Africa paying to take a photo of people. For the series, he gave Namibian people the amount of money they requested and let them pose however they wanted with it to show a more natural aspect of their personality.

"A lot of westerners and white Africans want to photograph the locals in Africa," explained Siedentopf.

"Unfortunately, the truth is that they rarely want to document the reality of the person in front of them, rather they want a photo that reinforces their 'idea' of a stereotypical 'African'."

Five provocative projects by artist Max Seidentopf

Please Respect Our Neighbours' Privacy, 2018

Siedentopf installed a series of binoculars at Herzog & de Meuron's extension to Tate Modern to give visitors a better view into the adjacent Neo Bankside housing.

The guerrilla art installation was created to highlight the fact that the Tate Modern was being taken to court by residents of neighbouring building for invading their privacy.

Alternative Coronavirus masks by Max Siedentopf with orange peel

How-To Survive A Deadly Global Virus, 2020

This provocative photo series shows everyday items being used as protective face masks in response to the coronavirus. The photos are based on images from around the world of people wearing hand-made masks that had been circulating on social media.

Although global demand for surgical face masks is growing, doctors do not advise using them for protection as research shows they have limited effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses.

Five provocative projects by artist Max Seidentopf

Passport Photos, 2019

The Passport Photos series aims to challenge the rules of how you must appear in official photography.

Each pair of photos shows an official cropped passport photo alongside a wider image of the model engaged in one of a variety of strange activities.