The quotidian objects that populate Annette Kelm’s distinct photographs—hats, bouquets, lamps, furniture—are reinserted into baffling situations. Kelm carefully frames and photographs these subjects with medium- and large-format cameras against obscure backgrounds like handkerchiefs, tablecloths, or solid colors. Kelm later hand-prints her pictures, ensuring each displays' incontestable clarity, to the extent that her precisely staged compositions vividly conjure mass marketing and advertising images.
Kelm’s work is multifaceted, with each photograph containing multiple cross-cultural, artistic, and historical references. Due to her documentary elements, Kelm has been compared to the Düsseldorf School of photographers, but her stange narratives and use of artifice also put in mind American post-conceptualists like Christopher Williams and Roe Etheridge.
Kelm has exhibited at Kunsthalle Zürich, the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco, the 54th Venice Biennale, the Aspen Art Museum, and MoMA PS1, among countless other institutions and galleries.