Loneliness, uncertainty, and malaise of the contemporary subject are at the heart of Dutch Erwin Olaf’s artistic practice in the show Erwin Olaf: The Empire of Illusion. By means of a series of intense photographs and videos the artist turns the spectator into a voyeur with a privileged view of those private and semi-private spaces that we as citizens of the city inhabit.
Spanish curator Paco Barragán has selected 10 video works and 20 photographs carried out between 2004 and today. This selection presents—according to the curator—complex, fragmented, and ‘liquid’ social narratives which convey the alienation of the contemporary subject under the weight of social taboos and conventions.
From the 90s on Olaf has been internationally known for works that were explicit and polemic related to gender, sexuality, beauty, and violence. Olaf is one of the leading pioneers of the so-called ‘staged photography’. In this show Olaf presents a series of themes revolving around family, school, politics, and the subject, which on its turn represent the moral, political, and social structures of our society.
In addition to the exhibition, curator Paco Barragán will hold a conference September 6, 12:30 a.m. in which he will delve into the key issues of Erwin Olaf’s artistic practice. The talk will be complemented with a guided tour of the exhibition.