In this new series, Skin Deep, Olaf addresses the human body in striking ways. These sensitive and insightful nudes show people of differing ages and genders. Each scene is situated in an empty room, where the faded elegance and desaturated colors stand in stark contrast to the powerful rendition of these bodies’ skin.
The naked body is a classical theme in art history and the series Skin Deep explores it from a fresh viewpoint. Erwin Olaf also references his earlier series’ such as Hotel or Hope. Despite Olaf’s signature aesthetic, there is an unadulterated and pared back quality that this new body of work demonstrates. The rooms are now free of objects and its subjects have also done away with their clothing. In this way their skin and resulting forms come to the fore. Through the dramatic lighting and the painterly backgrounds they indeed appear akin to a Baroque portrait.
For this exhibition and congruent with installations of recent years (Keyhole Installation, Karussell or Waiting), Olaf departs the medium of photography and takes it into a three-dimensional realm. Alongside the photographs in the exhibition Skin Deep at WAGNER + PARTNER, Erwin Olaf will premiere sculptural works. Under the influence of global political and cultural quarrels it is of high importance for the artist to show the naked body as a sign of freedom and liberalism.