Their shared goals are not that unusual in that they both want to produce the best work possible. But there is a generosity of spirit behind their collaboration, each aware that the other brings different strengths and ideas to their projects. The simple idea that together they make a greater whole underpins their approach and together they can be braver and more adventurous, leaning on each other's confidence and drive.
Wassinklundgren has established its own identity. Its way of working, exploring an idea, devising a strategy and a set of rules through which the artists can attain their goal has been recognised by commissioning agents and they regularly receive work as Wassinklungren rather than as individual artists.
While much of their work appears as documentary, it is more conceptual in its impulse than the photographs at first suggest, often concerned with the nature of picture making itself.
"Empty Bottles", a series of photographs showing people in Beijing picking up discarded plastic bottles is more than a commentary on recycling plastic or the extremes between the rich and poor in a booming China. It is about this, but it also explores the idea of how to make an image. Creating a stage for the protagonist to act out a role, becoming the principle character who determines when the photograph is taken, in effect passing the decision on when to release the shutter beyond the control of the artists themselves.
In "Tokyo Tokyo" Wassinklundgren turned documentary photography on its head and took on the idea of the "decisive moment" of traditional photography. By making two photographs of the same person in the same street at the same time with two different cameras from two different view points they explore the very idea of collaboration and its visual expression. The result is an exciting combination of intention and accident.
After graduating from Utrecht in 2005, Thijs Wassink studied for his MA in Fine Arts at Central St Martins and Ruben Lundgren went to Beijing to complete his MA Fine Art, graduating in 2010.
Their books have been exhibited internationally including at the FORMAT 2011 International Photography Festival, Derby; Van Zoetendaal Gallery, Amsterdam; Foam Museum, Amsterdam, the CAFA Museum, Beijing; Flash Forward Festival, Canada; and PhotoIreland where Empty Bottles was included in Martin Parr's selection of the best photo books of the decade.
Their work is also included in a number of collections including those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands; the Archive of Modern Conflict, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland and Martin Parr.