Simon Denny

The Startup Way Snapchat Legal Evidence, 2014
2 digital prints on billboard mesh, digital prints on aluminum, 159,5 x 113,5 x 17,5 cm
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne


Berlin Startup Case Mod: EyeEm, 2014
Custom computer case with digital prints, packaging, heavy-duty computer hardware, metal fittings, digital print on aluminum, Samsung UE40F6500 SS, video on USB stick, 143,5 x 91 x 54 cm
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne


New Production, 2014
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne
Simon Denny’s works flirt with the trends of the successful internet enterprise economy, and are like snapshots of an industry growing at frenzied speed in the digital network. They enable us to cast a critical glance at the technical progress of the present without themselves becoming critical. It also seems as if his works freeze the passage of time, and create a space for reflection on the social effects of the Internet society in the 21st century.

Drawing from the series Berlin Startup Case Mod, Denny presents the version EyeEm (2014) – an assemblage comprising a PC tower, its packaging material and a Samsung flat-screen TV. The commercial objects are arranged in such a way that the horizontally mounted flat-screen becomes a presentation surface on which the PC tower, individually tuned by Denny, is enthroned. Denny has borrowed this method of ‘case modding’ from a practice beloved in the nerd scene and has printed the EyeEm logo in poor, low-res quality on the PC tower. Video snippets run on the flat-screen, showing a mixture of online games and real conference situations in which investors, politicians, business managers, trend researchers and Web 2.0 heroes glorify their visions of the future. One of these successful startup enterprises is the Berlin-based EyeEm online community, which specializes in the distribution of ‘real photography’. Users can register, upload their private photo archive shot on their smartphone and tag the pictures with specific themes. At the same time the private photo archive becomes a platform of images that is offered to companies for use in advertising. The strategy seems to be working: EyeEm has been downloaded 10 million times and recently began cooperating with the major company Getty Images.

The second work in the series Startup Case Mod: Snapchat (2014) centres on the ‘ghost icon’ of the Snapchat instant messenger application from Los Angeles. Snapchat has become famous because users can use this smartphone app to send digital photos that destroy themselves a few seconds after being opened. The transmitted pictures become invisible ghosts that feel at home in the digital world. Denny plays on the idea behind this app and presents the ghost symbol as a three-dimensional laser engraving in a glass cube. In 2013 a hacker attack on Snapchat proved that the data can still be found in the digital graveyard labyrinth – the “deleted” photos of several million users were made public again on a website.

The work The Startup Way Snapchat Legal Evidence (2014) takes another approach and presents the concept behind Snapchat. On a standard billboard mesh Denny has illustrated the pyramid of his success. “Accountability” forms the base, followed by the units “process” and “culture”, and ends with the heading “people”, who stand at the summit: this is the “Startup Way”.
In Denny’s works the digital world encounters its mirror image in the real world. He slows down the economic processes of a ‘positive society’ (one in which only things that show themselves are of importance) and thus creates an image of the status quo of this scene. Even if we think we can imagine the future, we still don’t know what it will look like.

Simon Denny (1982, Auckland, New Zealand) educated at Frankfurt’s Staedelschule and living in Berlin. Simon Denny reflects the changing media economy in complex documentary installations. The winner of the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel 43, 2012; Denny has exhibited widely including solo exhibitions at the Portikus, Frankfurt, 2014; MuMoK, Vienna, 2013; Kunstverein Munich, 2013. and the Aspen Art Museum, 2012. He was included in the Venice Biennale, 2013; the German Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst, 2013. and the Sydney Biennale, 2008. Denny will represent New Zealand in their national pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015.

  • Darko Aleksovski
  • Jelena Bokić
  • Igor Bošnjak
  • Edith Dekyndt
  • Simon Denny
  • Doplgenger (Isidora Ilić and Boško Prostran)
  • Dušica Dražić
  • Dušan Đorđević
  • Sandra Đukić
  • Liam Gillick
  • Jelena Marta Glišić
  • Ibro Hasanović
  • Informal Curatorial & Art group (Sonja Vrkatić, Nikola Đorđević, Marko Đorđević)
  • Leon Kahane
  • Dejan Kaludjerović
  • Luka Knežević Strika
  • Susanne Kriemann
  • Boris Lukić
  • Marko Lulić
  • Nikola Marković
  • Andrea Palašti
  • Goran Petrović
  • Danilo Prnjat
  • Mileta Prodanović
  • David Pujadó
  • Leonard Qylafi
  • Meggy Rustamova
  • Predrag Terzić
  • Dragana Žarevac
  • Ana Adamović
  • Federico Acal
  • Milorad Mladenović