Published by Silvana Editoriale. Text by Walter Guadagnini.
Amsterdam-based Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf (born 1959) has long been considered one of today’s foremost practitioners of portrait photography, and the enigmatic and elusively contemplative atmospheres of his theatrical compositions are widely imitated. Saturated in somber yet luminous hues, and exactingly composed, Olaf’s color photographs, usually featuring only one or two people and set indoors, suggest dramatic narratives fraught with intangible restlessness. The attention to emotional character is scrupulous—as Olaf recently told Lyle Rxer in an interview, “you examine the state of the face, the person’s eyes, the small gestures, the way the muscles move slightly, and of course the influence of light and cropping to add to the intuitions you receive. These restrictions are the main reason why I feel more comfortable in my personal projects, where I can fantasize, or let’s say, I can create a world of my imagination.”
This concise catalog offers a journey through Olaf’s entire career to date, from the Chessmen series of the late 1980s that brought him international renown, and for which he was awarded the Young European Photographer Award in 1988, up to the recent Palm Springs project (2018). The volume includes a critical text by Walter Guadagnini and a conversation with the artist.
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.
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 10 x 13 in. / 112 pgs / 75 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 10/31/2014 No longer our product
DISTRIBUTION Contact Publisher
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781597112987TRADE List Price: $65.00 CDN $75.00
Published by Lido. Edited by Erwin Olaf, Christoph Ruys. Text by Javier Panera, Natacha Wolinski.
Mixing photojournalism with highly stylized studio photography, Erwin Olaf emerged on the international art scene in 1988, when his series Chessmen was awarded the first prize in the Young European Photographer competition. This award was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, in the same year. From early on, Olaf committed himself to uneasy issues of class, race, sex and religious belief. Noirish and steeped in 1950s Americana, his style has been embraced by the advertising world, leading to worldwide campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Heineken (which won him the coveted Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising). Outside of his commercial work, in recent series such as Rain (2004), Hope (2005), Grief (2007) and Fall (2008), Olaf subverts ideals of domestic bliss, while Dusk (2009) and Dawn (2010) show how culture can become repression. A similar disengagement takes place in the Hotel series (2010), in which he explores a range of melancholic emotions in dimly lit, exquisitely furnished 1950s hotel rooms. Alongside new and unpublished work, this book-now in its second printing-shows an overview of all the personal (non-commercial) work that Olaf has made over the past 25 years. It includes essays by Natacha Wolinski and Christoph Ruys and an interview with the photographer. Erwin Olaf was born in the Netherlands in 1959. His work in photography, fashion and film has won him numerous awards and commissions. In 2010 Louis Vuitton commissioned Olaf for a portrait series in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. He also won numerous other international art and media prizes, such as Photographer of the Year in the International Color Awards in 2006, and Kunstbeeld magazine's Artist of the Year of the Netherlands in 2007. Among his recent monographs are Erwin Olaf (Aperture) and Vite Private (Contrasto).
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 11.5 x 13 in. / 348 pgs / 160 color / 40 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 6/30/2013 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: FALL 2013 p. 95
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9789491301445TRADE List Price: $75.00 CDN $90.00
“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.
BOOK FORMAT Clothbound, 10 x 13 in. / 112 pgs / 65 color / DVD (NTSC).
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 7/1/2008 No longer our product
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PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781597110617TRADE List Price: $65.00 CDN $75.00
Published by Ludion. Essays by William Elia, Jonathan Turner and Ruud Schenk. Foreword by Kees van Twist.
Erwin Olaf, one of the best know and most over-the-top Dutch photographers of today--think David LaChapelle crossed with Playboy)--lives a passionate, lusty affair with life, enjoying it to the fullest extent, a true gastronome of the art of living. His oeuvre stands as a manifestation of this very passion and of his very genuine engagement with his subjects. Over the last 25 years, he has evolved from a photographer who captures reality to a director who creates it; either way, the depicted reality is one filled with humor, imagination, sexuality, and exuberance, raising issues of freedom, beauty, loneliness, and difference. A master who can generate his own, perverse world through autonomous photographic series, grandiose parties, and film projects alike, he is also hypercritical, an artist from whom nothing escapes. Thus his fictions are convincing, his images full of bygone days, fairytales, and dreams, populated by historical figures, elves, dwarves, lunatics, and creatures that defy easy description.
BOOK FORMAT Hardcover, 9.75 x 13.5 in. / 256 pgs / 240 color
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 12/2/2003 No longer our product
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2004
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9789076588636TRADE List Price: $65.00 CDN $75.00