Erwin Olaf: Waiting
Exhibition Dates: January 8 - February 28, 2015
Thursday, January 8
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Waiting is an abbreviated retrospective and has been organized to celebrate Aperture's release of a second monograph with work by the artist. This exhibition unites a careful selection of images culled from the astounding collection contained in both of Aperture’s volumes. It also marks the worldwide unveiling of the new series, Waiting, which includes recent photographs and a related video installation—functioning, therefore, both as the collective title for Olaf’s latest work and as an apt description of his production throughout recent decades.
The exhibition is anchored by a split-screen video installation that occupies a room conceived specifically for it, and features a poignant musical score created in close collaboration with a composer over the course of six weeks. Drawing on the shapes and shadows of film noir, the piece depicts a striking young woman with a sharp black bob as she sits at a round table in a restaurant, waiting for someone. Pictured from a different angle on each of the two screens, she appears elegant and self-possessed, at first, but as the moments pass with no sign of her date, her patience frays. Viewers are forced to wait with her—and as she grows restless, we do as well. With no indication of how this story will end, we watch the muscles in her face contort and strain as disappointment settles around her; we experience, along with her, the slow and agonizing process of disillusionment, our hope shattered along with hers. The music is the only sound we have, our only hint of time’s passing—and its harmony progresses like a requiem for moments lost.
Exhibited alongside the installation, the photographs explore the experience of waiting—a psychological state that Olaf has described as occupying “an odd place in between two emotions that is quickly disappearing, as everybody now has a phone or an IPad that connects them to the world.” We see evidence of this creeping torture mapped across beautiful faces, as they eventually crumble under the weight of devastation. As with all of Olaf’s work, it is here, in the moments where nothing explicitly “happens,” that the majority of life takes place. - Hasted Kraeutler Press release.
To read the full release, or for more information on the artist, please visit Hasted Kraeutler Gallery.