Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion – by sophie joy wright

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

Last week Erwin Olaf gave a presentation about his series, Berlin, showing at Galerie Rabouan Moussion that ENDS THIS SATURDAY!

Olaf explained his search for 'theme – location – drama' in this series, but ultimately his focus on the fabrication of his “aesthetic world that creates questions”. He sees that “we are in a new antebellum; a transition period”, and found locations in Berlin that existed between the first and second World Wars to place this connection for his meticulously composed photographs.

There’s a sense of imminent threat in this series, with the intense backlighting that illuminates the menacing child-subjects, dressed as adults.

“I don’t know anymore what I want to tell […but] I like to see myself as a photographer that’s a little late to push the button, so the image is before or after the essential moment. It’s a story that’s saying ‘what if’. What if young people gain so much power that they dictate adults."


The detail in the costumes, which you can see in the eerie merry-go-round instillation, as well as the set, composition and of course lighting, creates Olaf’s typically hyperrealist aesthetic universe.

"All my life I have been in my own fantasy world. I hate reality! For me, if I wanted to watch a documentary, I can look outside! I don’t need to see that in a gallery."


"I often ask myself, where is photography going as an artform? I see much repetition. How can we be unique? How many portraits have we seen? How many street scenes have we seen? The surface of a photo is always the same… I like to combine film, photography and instillation – you can tell a bigger story. I want you to come in and step into my world, be manipulated […] This creates an emotional atmosphere that you usually only see in other forms of art."


Berlin shows at Galerie Rabouan Moussion – 121 rue Vieille du Temple until 23 November 2013.


Happy Friday,

Sophie Joy



Sophie Joy Wright