All About Photo Awards 2019

Erwin Olaf

Dutch Photographer | Born: 1959

Erwin Olaf (b. 1959) is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the collections of museums and galleries around the world. Olaf has received numerous highly prestigious commissions and awards. Olaf emerged onto the international art scene when his series ‘Chessmen’ won the Young European Photographer of the Year award in 1988. This was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, with subsequent solo and group shows at major museums and galleries around the world, including Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Málaga, Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, SECCA in North Carolina and Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum has accuired 500 key artworks from his fourty-year oeuvre for their collection. This follows recent official portraits for the Dutch royal family and the design of the new Euro coin for King Willem Alexander. Rutger Pontzen, art critic for Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant said, ‘Controversial or not, Erwin Olaf does give a picture of the Netherlands’.. ‘and that makes him distinctive in Dutch photography’.. ‘In other words, his oeuvre belongs to the cultural heritage’.

Starting his career as a photojournalist documenting the gay scene of the 1980s, Olaf increasingly sought and defined his own subjects, often explored in series of works in black and white (Squares, Chessmen and Blacks) and colour (Mind of their Own, Rain, Hope, Grief, Dusk, and Dawn). In recent years he has developed his themes through the form of monumental tableaux, for which he adopts the role of director as well as photographer. Olaf is a master of this craft, a virtuoso in the fine and subtle arts of photography and drama suffused with stillness, contemplation and dreamlike mystery. He is also a true picture maker, showing a close affinity with Old Masters and contemporary artists alike, from Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe, and in that sense his work emphatically bridges the gap between historical and contemporary picture-making.

Now internationally renowned, Erwin Olaf’s photography remains an essential part of the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum director, says, ‘his work is deeply rooted in the visual traditions of Dutch art and history’ and that consequently Olaf is ‘one of the most important photographers of the final quarter of the 20th century’.

From progression to decay, notions of transformation are prevalent throughout Olaf’s work with a multitude of projects proving his fascination for society’s ever-changing demands, its simultaneous development and devolution of our moral compass, and its cultivated sense of anticipation for an almost-achievable contentment. These are the preoccupations that add a fascinating dimension to ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Tamed and Anger’, but also colour the tension in ‘Separation’ which explores the artist’s relationship with his mother, the controversial ‘Royal Blood’, the pressures of ageing in ‘Mature’ and the self-portrait series ‘I Wish, I Am, I Will Be’. All these projects reveal the friction of an imperfect reality hidden beneath a perfectly curated façade.

His most recent work sees the conclusion of the three-part project ‘Shifting Metropolises’ [working title] - a series of artworks looking at internationally renowned cities undergoing seismic change in the modern world. Rather than fabricating a controlled studio environment, this trilogy is the only time the artist has shot on location, retaining his characteristic cinematic associations to produce a body of work wrought with the genuine emotions and neuroses of these places and their inhabitants.

A bold approach to his work has earned Olaf a number of commissions from institutions including Louis Vuitton, Vogue, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, for which he designed the 2016 ‘Catwalk’ exhibition, including a promotional video and photographic campaign. He has been awarded Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards 2006 and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year 2007 as well as the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize. Additional international awards include the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography, the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising, and a Lucie Award from the United States for his whole oeuvre. In 2013 he won the commission to redesign the Dutch Euro coins, which have been in circulation since 2014.

Olaf has screened video work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum at FIT in New York, and at Nuit Blanche in Toronto with a live score commissioned for his series ‘Waiting’. He has also projected his 30 channel video installation ‘L’Éveil' onto the Hôtel de Ville for Nuit Blanche in Paris, curated by Jean de Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo). In March 2018 the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2019 Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) will host a solo exhibition. The Gemeentemuseum The Hague and The Hague Museum of Photography will host an anniversary solo exhibition for Erwin Olaf his 60th birthday, and to celebrate 40 years of photography. In 2019 there will be a new retrospective monograph released, published by Hannibal, Aperture, Xavier Barral and Prestel.

Erwin Olaf (born 1959, Hilversum, the Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam.

Source: www.erwinolaf.com

Erwin Olaf: Volume II
Author: Francis Hodgson, Erwin Olaf:
Publisher: Aperture
Year: 2014 - Pages: 112
Erwin Olaf's approach to storytelling is uniquely evocative and enticingly ambiguous. Critic Francis Hodgson writes of Olaf's images, "They lead us to a "Stimmung" (a sense of atmosphere) which is broad enough to repay many second readings of the pictures and so keep us viewers interested." In this presentation of his most recent work, Olaf expands on his established, highly polished and stylized color studio images to include a series drawn from his sculptural video installation, "Keyholes"; a group of black-and-white images he has exhibited as carbon prints; and photographs created on location in Berlin--a departure from the constructed mises-en-scène of earlier work produced in his Amsterdam studio. "Erwin Olaf: Volume II" showcases the artist at the height of his powers, as an artisan of atmosphere and a craftsman who uses high polish to both perverse and seductive effect. Erwin Olaf (born 1959) is a Dutch photographer known for his highly stylized, daring and often provocative work addressing social issues and taboos. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Johannes Vermeer Award (2011), a Lucie Award (2008) and Photographer of the Year in the International Color Awards (2006). His work is shown in museums and galleries around the world. Olaf also received a commission to design the new national side of the Dutch Euro, launched in 2013.
 
Erwin Olaf - Own
Author: Erwin Olaf
Publisher: Lido
Year: 2012 - Pages: 368
Erwin Olaf s art visualizes implicitly the unspoken, the overlooked, that typically resists easy documentation. Olaf s trademark is to address social issues, taboos, and bourgeois conventions in a highly stylized and cunning mode of image making. Alongside new and unpublished work, this book shows an overview of all the personal work that Olaf made during the past 25 years.
 
Erwin Olaf
Author: Erwin Olaf
Publisher: Aperture Foundation
Year: 2008 - Pages: 112
"Vermeer Noir" might be an apt description of Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf's disquieting image repertoire. His subjects are posed indoors, immobile, somewhat in reverie and bathed in nearby window light--but not tranquilly so. An atmosphere of sinister but clinical indifference attends both them and their environments, rendering them into beautiful but dislocated mannequins in catalogue-furnished interiors. All sense of belonging to a place is eliminated. 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 celebrates America of the 1950s and 60s. Dramatic emotions are hinted at but left ambiguous; certainly nothing in the models' surroundings suggests a cause. Here, across three themes of Hope, Grief and Rain, Olaf blends mid-century Modern and Noir in the lens of contemporary fashion. Avocado greens, golden-hued oranges and subtle lilacs brighten and deaden simultaneously, sending an irresolvable tension through his scenarios like an electric current. This tension, strung between the polar effects of zing and muteness, is the line Olaf treads in his pictures. As a whole, the work defines what critic Jonathan Turner usefully describes as "Olaf's recent fascination with the visual representation of such emotions as 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." The book comes with a DVD.
 
AAP Magazine #6 Black & White Contest
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Lola Álvarez Bravo
Nationality: Mexican
Born: 1907 - Died: 1993

Lola Álvarez Bravo (1907 – 1993) was a Mexican photographer. She was a key figure (along with Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and her husband Manuel Álvarez Bravo) in Mexico's post-revolution renaissance. She was born Dolores Martinez de Anda to wealthy parents in the state of Jalisco. She moved to Mexico City as a young child, after her mother left the family under mysterious circumstances. Her father died when she was a young teenager, and she was then sent (…)
 
Patrick Morarescu
Nationality: German
Statement:
Due to the natural dynamic and complexity of the individual, I have always been drawn to portraiture. I photograph persons to whom I feel an initial attraction and try to reflect this force in images. A power that you cannot describe in words or in rational concepts but it captures the attention and creates a strong curiosity, a sort of addiction not only to body shapes, eyes, skin tonalities, but to what is behind: the thoughts and the mental state of (…)
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
Patrick Morarescu
 
J.M. Golding
Nationality: American
J. M. Golding is a photographic artist based in the San Francisco Bay area. She chooses plastic, pinhole, and vintage film cameras as her primary tools: plastic cameras such as the Holga for the spontaneity they promote and their capacity to help create dreamlike images, pinhole cameras for their simplicity and their contemplative quality, and vintage film cameras for the subjectivity of the images that are possible. J. M.'s photographs have been shown internationally in (…)
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
 
Rosa Basurto
Nationality: Spanish
Born: 1972
Rosa Basurto is a self-taught photographer from Spain who, within a short frame of time, has been widely recognised for her work. Despite no formal training, Basurto demonstrates an impressive command of photographic skill, producing images that are poetic in style and imitating a dream-like world, within the reality of landscape. Though each image includes quite life-like subjects, such as trees and birds in flight, the spaces they occupy within Basurto’s photographs bring (…)
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
Rosa Basurto
 
Klavdij Sluban
Nationality: French
Born: 1963
Winner of the European Publishers Award for Photography 2009, of the Leica Prize (2004) and of the Niépce Prize (2000), main French prize in photography, Klavdij Sluban is a French photographer of Slovenian origin born in Paris in 1963. He develops a rigorous and coherent body of work, nourished by literature, never inspired by immediate and sensational current affairs, making him one of the most interesting photographers of his generation. The Balkans, the Black Sea, the (…)
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
Klavdij Sluban
 
Germaine Krull
Nationality: German
Born: 1897 - Died: 1985

From en.wikipedia.org
Germaine Krull (29 November 1897 – 31 July 1985), was a photographer, political activist, and hotel owner. Her nationality has been categorized as German, Polish, French, and Dutch, but she spent years in Brazil, Republic of the Congo, Thailand, and India. Described as "an especially outspoken example" of a group of early 20th-century female (…)
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
Germaine Krull
 
Ed Kashi
Nationality: American
Born: 1957
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of the prestigious photo agency VII, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition.

“I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply (…)
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi
 
Michael Wolf
Nationality: German/American
Born: 1954

Lives in Hong Kong, born Munich, Germany. The focus of the german photographer michael wolf’s work is life in mega cities. many of his projects document the architecture and the vernacular culture of metropolises. wolf grew up in canada, europe and the united states, studying at uc berkeley and at the folkwang school with otto steinert in essen, germany. he moved to hong kong in 1994 where he worked for 8 years as contract photographer for stern magazine. since 2001, (…)
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf
 
Henry Horenstein
Nationality: American
Born: 1947
Born in Massachusetts in 1947, Henry Horenstein was on a path to becoming a historian when he discovered photography. Captivated by the work of Robert Frank and Danny Lyon, Horenstein entered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After completing his MFA at RISD in 1973, Horenstein's first major project was a documentary survey of the people and character of country music. As a long-time fan, Horenstein recognized (…)
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
Henry Horenstein
 
Clay Lipsky
Nationality: American

From www.claylipsky.com
Clay Lipsky is a fine art photographer & Emmy Award winning graphic designer based in Los Angeles. He has applied his unique visual style across a variety of mediums, from print and multimedia to TV and film. Despite his varied interests, photography has always been a part of Clay’s life. Recently, he has experienced a new-found interest with the medium and is now (…)
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
Clay Lipsky
 
AAP Magazine #6 Black & White Contest
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 5th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices