The Art of Clean Up

The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy by Ursus Wehrli demonstrates just how few words are truly needed to make a statement.

The book’s main premise is the need for organization. Wehrli organizes a seemingly disorganized world by straightening, rearranging, substituting, and replacing people and objects, documenting each reorganization effort through photography. The presentation really amused me, using the page spread to depict before and after scenes for various daily situations. The “before” photograph will present a perceived disorderly scenario, such as a bowl of alphabet soup, people walking across a quad, or the cosmos, and the “after” scene will depict Wehrli’s way of organizing it.

The bowl of alphabet soup and the cosmos compete for my #1 favorite scene; the soup is organized alphabetically in the bowl, and the cosmos have been sorted and arranged graphically by size. The people walking across the quad are arranged similarly to the cosmos, with people sorted by shirt color.

In instances that the photo subject is deemed “too messy” to properly rearrange, humorous substitutions are made. Twisty pretzels are replaced with straight pretzel sticks; a pond of Koi fish is substituted with a pan of breaded fish sticks. Corn on the cob substitutes popcorn; Chiclets gum replaces chewed gum,  and a dollar bill is replaces all the pesky loose change.

The viewer must spend some time looking at each image to find all the substitutions, as a grown-up version of  I Spy. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the images, and I hope that you will too!