Berlin is a significant departure from Erwin Olaf’s previous work. The photographer set and filmed this collection on location in six different historical spaces in the grand city of Amsterdam, rather than constructing them in his studio. Funded in part with the proceeds of his 2011 Vermeer prize, the most important cultural recognition conferred by the Dutch government, this series demonstrates that Erwin Olaf has again shattered the boundaries of contemporary photographic practice. Opening 7 March the exhibition runs until 10 May at Hamiltons Gallery, London.
The series bridges the gap between historical and contemporary art. Full of tension, the ever-shifting narrative of the photos demonstrates Olaf’s ability to entrance, perplex, confound and delight viewers with his works. In addition to the large colour prints on display, there is also a collection of small format carbon prints. Olaf made the prints, and they are a new addition to his oeuvre. Each small piece is unique in tonality and appearance, reflecting the fine hand of the artist himself. The works are made in a tiny edition of only 3 prints, and printed using an almost extinct photographic process. The images are reconstituted, providing the viewer with a perception of the past, even while still securely anchored in the present.
Erwin Olaf: Berlin, 7 March – 10 May, Hamiltons Gallery, 13 Carlos Place, London, W1K 2EU.
All images courtesy of Hamiltons and Erwin Olaf.
1. Berlin, Rathaus Sch.
2. Berlin, Altes Stadt.