La Sucrière, Lyon
21 March – 30 June 2013
Quai Rambaud69002, Lyon
+33 4 27 82 69 40

Dutch artist Erwin Olaf was born in 1959 in Hilversum, the Netherlands. He has lived
and worked in Amsterdam since the 1980s. In this exhibition, he is exhibiting several of his photographic and video works produced between 2001 and 2012. A single glance is all that is required for the onlooker to delve into the quite particular world created by his work. In 2001 with the “Paradise the club” and “Paradise portrait” series, the festive, colourful and obscure world of the circus was showcased. In parallel, the tense and frightening portraits of clowns with their smudged and careless makeup showed deep solitude. In 2003, following the death of the artist’s father, the “Separation” series was published, where two protagonists, in all evidence a mother and her child evolved within an ice-cold decor without warmth or love. A series which clearly portrayed grief. The “Annoyed”, “Wet ”, “Le Dernier Cri”, “Dusk & Dawn” and “Keyhole” series all followed.

Throughout the series published by Erwin Olaf, the artist has imposed his style and has asked the question of differences in class, sex, race, beauty, and the significance of secrecy.
The atmosphere is one of silence, pensiveness and solitude. The use of colour, the choice of models and decors all transport the onlooker into an undetermined period somewhere between the 60s and modern day. In Erwin Olaf’s videos, just as in his photography, there is an overriding slowness, where the method and reflection of an artist who looks on, who places the décor and the colour just as a painter are tangible. We cannot but recall some of the major Dutch painters of the 17th century, such as Johannes Vermeer.

In the Netherlands, is there a particular light and ambiance which leads its great artists to be impregnated in such a manner which they wish to share these with us for several centuries?
It may well be the case.