The Erwin Olaf‘s “Hotel” collection displays velvet-gloved emotional impact, seedy, melancholic images of disaffected, doll-like, and generally nude women positioned around noirish hotel rooms.
The older I get, the more I start to realize that I’m more influenced by cinema than by photography,” Olaf says. “Although there are big, big beautiful photographs, when you are going to the cinema, you can always make up your own story. You have more emotion. I never cry over a photo, but I cry over a movie, or music or literature. That makes me always a bit jealous. So I want to achieve that a bit in my photography.
“The Hotel series is about alienation and the subtle range of dark emotions that they can give a person. The hotel rooms that I sleep in when I am travelling are all different but the feeling that they give is the same, there is a certain disengagement that takes place.” Erwin Olaf
Olaf’s second body of work on view is HOTEL. The inspiration for HOTEL literally came from the artist’s travels with the accompanying feelings of transience and anomie, the unsettled sense of passing through, the boredom with being on one’s own. There is a distilled quality to the images, a suspension of time and action without any explicit drama. There is a sameness to the hotel room settings although each suggests a different city. HOTEL not only reflects Olaf’s sensitive approach to his picture making but his virtuoso technique with its exquisite lighting and colors.
Mr. Olaf’s career has soared since his last exhibition in New York with numerous solo exhibitions. In the past year alone, he has had major solo exhibitions at Institute Néerlandais, Paris; Domus Artium 2002 (DA2), Salamanca; Photo Museum Antwerp; The Grand Manege, Moscow Biennalle of Fashion and Photography; The Hague Museum of Photogra- phy; and Museum Forma, Milan. He has been included in shows at Kunsthalle Winterthur; MuHKA (Museum for Contemporary Art), Antwerp and Seoul Art Centre.
Bio: Erwin Olaf was born in 1959 in the small town of Hilversum, The Netherlands. He originally pursued a career in journalism, attending the School for Journalism in Utrecht. There, Olaf discovered photography and film. Olaf has become best known for his intricate, witty style of commercial photography and for his incredibly cutting edge personal work. Olaf has received multiple awards for campaigns completed for Heineken, Diesel Dirty Denim, Nicorette and Lavazza Coffee. International recognition has come from The Association of Photographers, London; the PDN Photography Annual, New York; and the Silver Lion, Cannes. Olaf’s work has also been exhibited worldwide. In 2003, The Netherlands Groninger Museum dedicated its entire space to Erwin Olaf’s 25th Silver Jubilee retrospective. The works included in this prominent exhibition were then compiled for the highly acclaimed book Silver. Other solo exhibitions have been staged in major museums in Sydney, Bologna, Prague, Antwerp, Lodz, and Moscow, and galleries in Milan, Madrid, Paris, New York, and Hong Kong. Olaf is now currently in the planning stages of directing his first feature film, a children’s science fiction picture. Olaf lives and works in Amsterdam.