The First Post

Anxiety Attack

Mar 31, 2007

By Holly Kyte

When a slick commercial photographer turns to 'high art', the result is not likely to be grubby realism. Erwin Olaf's highly-manipulated, stylized series Grief is a case in point. Amid the vinyl and formica of the hairdresser's or ice-cream parlor, mannequin-like figures pose in surreal stasis, refusing to interact, capturing what Olaf calls the "half-second after you receive bad news but before you react". Rockwell-style kitsch, film noir intensity and David Lynch-ian weirdness combine to make ironic, silent melodramas. The stories behind these stares are unexplained, so the question remains, what's making those cheerleaders so glum? Grief is at the Hasted Hunt gallery in New York, from April 19 to June 2.