Erwin Olaf

ISBN: 9781597110617
Artist(s): Erwin Olaf
Author(s): Alasdair Foster
Format: hardback
Year published: 2008
Publisher: Aperture
Publisher Location: New York
Total Pages: 112
Illustrations: Illustrated in colour throughout


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Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf delivers a velvet-gloved emotional impact with his highly stylized mode of image making. His work offers a blend of mid-century modern and noir aesthetics seen through a contemporary, fashion-inflected lens. The ambience of the series presented in this volume―the first time these three bodies of work have been presented as a whole―is truly enigmatic and enticing. Olaf seduces the viewer via a mannered, restrained palette that is replete with faded avocado greens, golden-hued oranges, and subtle lilacs. Each richly colored and sleekly composed image offers a sly reinterpretation of Norman Rockwell-like iconography and characters, manifesting a nostalgia that both burlesques and wryly celebrates America of the 1950s and ’60s. As a whole, the material investigates what critic Jonathan Turner defines as “Olaf’s recent fascination with the visual representation of such emotions of loss, loneliness, and quiet despair. . . . [He] plays games with the idea of cold reality versus cruel artifice, capturing that precise moment when innocence, hope, and joy are lost.”


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