Untitled (To buy or not to buy)


Photograph and type on paper

16 x 25.5 cm (6 5/16 x 10 1/16 in.)

Two female hands, one of which is cut out in Chinese shadow, hold a stretched out cloth in a photographic chiaroscuro. A reserved phrase on a white background divides the motif and gives the work its title, To Buy or Not to Buy, a play on Hamlet’s dilemma re-contextualised in the era of consumerism.

American artist Barbara Kruger’s photographic works are based on found images, especially in black and white, to which she adds red or black inscriptions. Presenting her works as attractive advertising posters with striking slogans, she delivers a sharp critique of contemporary society, from machismo to the social constraints of morality and excessive consumption.

Untitled (To Buy or Not to Buy) was shown for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the major group show "Mapping the Studio" in 2009 at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.