La dernier cri, 2006 (video still), video, single channel projection, 3:30 minutes, sound, courtesy of the artist and Flatland Gallery, Utrecht
Erwin Olaf is known for his provocative photographs of bizarre figures simultaneously enticing, eccentric and repellent. His preoccupation with the post-human body is featured in his video works, which enlarge the scope of his still photographs. His films, which can be understood as "horror comedies" devoid of all emotion and desire, allude heavily to 1970's cinema and act as a parable of the human condition at the dawn of the third Millennium. His video Le dernier cri (2006), which opens with the caption "Paris, 2019," depicts sterile, mundane interaction between two elegant women in a well-designed bourgeois house. The house's barren furnishings bring to mind Modernist 1950's and - 60's interior design. A close-up of the characters' faces reveals strange bumps and grotesque blemishes that can be imagined as the outcome of numerous implants and plastic surgeries. The characters seem to live only in an artificial, mechanical way. The banal, the mundane and the familiar are turned uncanny and horrific, but also simultaneously funny. Olaf's satirical gaze is turned, then, to modern bon-ton, where even the plants are designed as modern sculpture and as part of the contemporary living space - and especially towards the aesthetic norms that brought about a physical mutation of the female body at the dawn of the 21st Century.
Born in Hilversum, the Netherlands, 1959; lives and works in Amsterdam