Erwin Olaf  (1959)  

Born in 1959 in Hilversum (the Netherlands), lives in Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
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Erwin Olaf's art visualizes implicitly the unspoken, the overlooked, that typically resist easy documentation. Olaf's trademark is to address social issues, taboos, and bourgeois conventions in a highly stylized and cunning mode of image making. With his razor-sharp aesthetic intuition, Olaf purposely conceals his themes, so that the viewer has to accept the initial concealment in Olaf's photo series. Yet in the end, his unconventional style never misses to deliver dramatic visual and emotional impact. By taking care of the scenic and lightning design, and the utmost perfect composition in his typical, immaculate 'Olafian' way, together with his passion for flawlessly conceiving scenarios, Olaf vividly captures the essence of contemporary life.

Mixing photojournalism with studio photography, 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. Deliberately disturbing and intended to raise awareness, Olaf committed himself in his earlier work on the subject of social exclusion in which he explored issues of class, race, sexual taste, beliefs, habits and grace. In his recent series Rain (2004), Hope (2005), Grief (2007) and Fall (2008) Olaf challenges the notion of domestic bliss. Dusk (2009) and Dawn (2010) show how culture can become repression, despite a beautiful appearance. A similar disengagement takes place in Olaf's Hotel (2010) series in which he explores the subtle range of detached melancholic emotions in dimly-lit exquisitely furnished 1950s hotel rooms.
In 1991 he began working with film which has since continued to be an important medium for his art. Often these movies provide a parallel history to his color photography. Olaf's visually sophisticated and conceptually provocative style has been embraced by the advertising world. His worldwide campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Heineken won him the coveted Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising. 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 Colour Awards in 2006, and Kunstbeeld magazine's Artist of the Year of the Netherlands in 2007. Recently he received a Lucie Award for his entire oeuvre. Recent monographs are 'Erwin Olaf', Aperture Foundation, New York, (2008) and Vite Private, Contrasto, Milan (2010).

Erwin Olaf has had numerous important group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including George Eastman House, Rochester, USA; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Kunsthalle, Winterthur, Switzerland and the Museum of the City of New York, New York. Solo exhibitions include Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Bilbao Art Centre, Bilbao, Spain; Groninger Museum, Groningen; MonteVideo, Amsterdam; Modern Art Gallery of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia; The Hague Museum of Photography, The Hague; Photo Museum Antwerp, Antwerp; Institut Néerlandais, Paris; Domus Artium, Salamanca; Hermitage, Amsterdam; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. His work is part of the collections of Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Groninger Museum, Groningen; Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany; FNAC Collection, Paris; CaldicCollection, Rotterdam; Rosenblum Collection, Paris; Orefa Collection, Paris.


Kunstenaar van het Jaar 2013

Johannes Vermeer Prijs 2011

Lucie award 2010

Kunstenaar van het jaar Nederland 2007
Selected by Kunstbeeld Magazine

Fotograaf van het jaar 2006
Selected by International color Awards

2001 Silver Lion - Advertising Heineken
Selected by Festival for Advertising

1999 Silver Lion - advertising Diesel
Selected by Festival for Advertising

1995 Woord en Beeld

1988 Young European Photographer

Tentoonstellingen (selectie)

'Dead_lines Exhibition', Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal
16-10-2011 till 12-02-2012
'High Tension', Carbon 12 Dubai
19-09-2011 till 10-11-2011
'The Rencontres Internationales', Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin
28-06-2011 till 31-07-2011
'Basic Instincts', Villa Elisabeth Berlin
01-07-2011 till 31-07-2011
'Kunst Macht Schule', Kunsthalle Darmstadt
20-09-2011 till 08-01-2012
'Het Leidens Ontzet', Lakenhal Museum Leiden
'Seoul Photofestival 2011', Seoul Museum of Art
02-11-2011 till 30-11-2011
'Soloshow Erwin Olaf', Art Statements Gallery Tokyo
'No Fashion, Please', Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
11-11-2011 till 22-01-2012

'Dusk & Dawn', Hermitage Amsterdam
'Dawn & Dusk', Hasted Hunt Kraeutler, New York
'New Works', Hamiltons Gallery, London
‘A journey to excellence’, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
‘Solo Photography exhibition’, Paris Beijing Photo Gallery
‘Decandence now! Visions of Excess’, Gallery Rudolfinum Prague
‘Cinema X: Like to watch’, MOCCA Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
‘The unbearable lightness of being’, Carbon 12 Dubai
‘Ideal Lab / Longer Participation’, Transplant, International Design Biennial Saint-Etienne
'ATopia- Art and City in the 21st Century', Centre de Cultura Contemp, Barcelona
'De PICTURA', EMAT Espai Metropolita d'Art, Valencia

‘Erwin Olaf – Eyecandy 1984-2009’, FoMu, Fotomuseum Provincie Antwerpen, Antwerp
´Photographie & Video: Rain, Hope, Grief, Fall Et D´autres Oeuvres´, Institut Néerlandais, Paris
‘A choreography of emotions’, Langhans Gallery, Prague
´Erwin Olaf 50 Years Old, Retrospective´, Domus Artium, Cultural Centre of Salamanca
‘Dusk’, Flatland Gallery Utrecht, Paris
‘Erwin Olaf Laboral’, Galerie Magda Danysz
‘The Non-Age, The Rebel of Age’, Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo
‘Wild Exaggeration’, Haifa Museum of Art
‘Amsterdam/New York perspectives: Dutch photography in New York’, Museum of the City of New York
‘The Non-Age’, Kunsthalle Winterhur
‘All that is solid melts into air’, MuHKA, Antwerp
‘Why Look at animals’, ‘Museum of contemporary Art, Jacksonville

´Still Living; Structure, Surface and Expression´, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, USA
´Grief´, Flatland Paris & Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris
´Rain, Hope, Grief and Fall´, The Hague Museum Of Photography, The Hague
´Human All Too Human´, Fotografia Europea Reggio Emilia 2008, Italy
‘First Exhibition on the Chinese mainland’, Space E6, China
‘Short stories in contemporary Photography’, Museum of Design, Zurich

´Rain, Hope and Grief´, M+B Gallery, Los Angeles
´Grief´, Hasted Hunt Gallery, New York
´Le Dernier Cri´, Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris
‘House of beautiful nightmares’, Arcaute arte contemporaneo, Mexico
‘Elegance and perversity’, City Arts Centre, Shoalhaven
‘Grief’, Reflex Modern Art Gallery, Amsterdam
‘Dangerous Beauty’, Cheslea Art Museum NY
‘The Constructed Image’, Museum of contemporary art Toronto
‘The Veil /Il Velo’, SeSAC, Caraglio

‘l’Esprit du Nord / Spirit of the North’, Maison Europeenne de la Photogrpahie Paris
‘Why look at animals’, George Eastman House, Rochester

´Fashion And Style in Photography´, Museum of Modern Art, Moscow
´Elegance And Perversity´, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney
´Rain & Hope´, Hasted Hunt Gallery, New York
‘Hope’, Flatland Gallery Utrecht
‘Imitation of Life’, MAMbo, Bologna
‘Moving Targets’, MonteVideo, Amsterdam
‘Veritas Splendor, Erwin Olaf Photographs 1988-2003’, Museum Sztuki, Lodz
‘Baroque and neo-baroque. The hell of beautifull’, Salamance Arts Centre
‘Bac!05’, Centre de cultura contemporania de Barcelona
‘Going Dutch’, Museum of new art, Pontiac

‘Foto America 2004’, Cultural Centre Espantagruelico, Santiago
‘Lies, Lust, Art & Fashion’, Podewil, Berlin

´Silver´, Groninger Museum, Groningen
´Melting Pop’, Palazzo delle papesse, Siene
‘Fundancion foto Colectania’, ARTium, Vitoria-Gazteis

´Paradise´, B&D Gallery, Milan
‘Erwin Olaf Retrospective’, Cultuur centrum Knokke
´Booby Trap´, Museo d’Arte della Provicia di Nuoro, Nuoro
‘Citizen K. exhibition’, Mois de la photo, Paris
‘The Mask: Il volto Plurale’, La giarina Arte Contemporanea Verona
‘Shock & Show. Realtra e alternative’, Mostra internationale d’arte contemporanea a Trieste

´Royal Blood´, Bilbao Art Centre, Bilbao, Spain
´Retrospective´, Museum of Modern Art, Hasselt
‘Action Erwin Olaf & Paul Smith’, Galway Art Centre
‘The Body of Art’, Bienal de Valencia

‘Violence and Passion, Royal Blood, Fashion Victims & Mature’, Reflex Modern Art Gallery Amsterdam
‘Mature’, Galeria Espacio Minimo, Madrid
‘Bodies, Clothing, Surface’, Museam fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

‘Haks was Here’, Groninger Museum

‘Chessmen’, Ludwig Museum, Cologne
‘The deadly sins’, Amsterdam Centrum voor fotografie

‘Triptych’, Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo

‘Home is where the heart is’, Hremdkorper Westergasfabriek Amsterdam
‘Stars in black & white & colour’, Roslyn Axley 9 Gallery

‘Erwin Olaf fotografien 1984-1995’, Stadtmuseum, Erlangen
‘Mind of their own’, Fotofestival Naarden

‘Tafel van Tien’, Flatland Gallery
‘Ten years of European photo prize’, Kulturzentrum Englische Kirche

‘Joy’, Kunsthal Rotterdam
‘Erwin Olaf’, Krankhurter Kunst Verein
‘Manipulation’, Staten Gallery, The Hague

‘Styles shapes function with Borek Sipek’, stedelijk museum Amsterdam
‘Illusions and travestissements’, AB Gallery Paris

‘The Fourth Wall’, Staten Gallery, The Hague

‘Blacks – Seventeen Royal Portraits’, Fodor Museum Amsterdam

‘Exuberance now! Less is a bore’, Groninger museum

‘Behold the men’, The Photographer’s Gallery, London

‘Nudity in front of the camera’, Meervaart Theatre Amsterdam

‘Mannen sehen Manner’, Kunstverein, Frankfurt

‘The art of seduction’, Melkweg Amsterdam

‘Foto 1984’, Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam

‘Among men/ Among women’, University of Amsterdam

Solo Publicaties
Erwin Olaf, On beauty and fall documentary 2010
Erwin Olaf (Aperture), 2008
Fall 2008
Grief, 2007
Rain/Hope, 2006
The Golden Age, 2005
Silver, 2003
Violence and passion 2000
Stars in Black & White & Colour
Mind of their own - 18 portraits of mentally disabled people 1995
Joy, 1995
Style Forms Function, 1992
Blacks, seventeen Royal Portraits, 1990
Chessmen, an attempt to play the game, 1988
Stadsgezichten, 1985

Sir Elton John Collection, UK and USA
21 C museum, USA
ARS Fundum, Spain
Banco Spirito Santo, Spain
The Franks-suss Collection, UK
George Eastman House, USA
Neuflize Vie Collection, France
North Carolina Museum of Art, USA
The West Collection, USA
Rabobank, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Deutsche Leasing AG, Bad Homburg, Germany
ING art Collection, The Netherlands
Caldic Collection, The Netherlands
Fondation Frances, Senlis, France
Orefi, Vente-Privee Collection, France
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague The Netherlands
Fnac collection, Paris France
Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Groninger Museum, Groningen
North Carolina Museum Of Art, Raleigh, USA
Art Progressive Collection, USA
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Collezione La Gaia, Piedmont, Italy
Collezione Lavazza, Torino
Collezione Lanfranchi, Milano
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Museum Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Fundacio Foto Colectania, Spain
Centraal Museum, Utrecht
Blue Collection, Switzerland
Arad Collection, London, England
Inelcom Collection, Spain
Coff Collection, Spain
Scheringa Museum, Spanbroek
Martin Margulies Collection, USA
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Exposities (komt nu voorbij)

De volgende instellingen bieden werk aan en organiseren exposities:
Flatland Gallery, Amsterdam
Fondation Francès, Senlis
Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam, Reflex Modern Art Gallery, Amsterdam

De volgende musea/instellingen hebben werk in hun collectie:
Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo
Centraal Museum, Utrecht
Museum De Domijnen, Sittard
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag/Scheveningen
Museum Ludwig, Köln
Miniatuur Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Amsterdam
Museum Arnhem, Arnhem
Museum MORE, Gorssel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar

Vertegenwoordigd in de volgende bedrijfscollecties:
Kunstcollectie Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Den Haag
ING Collectie, Amsterdam
KPMG Kunstcollectie, Amstelveen
Kunstcollectie KPN, Den Haag
Randstad fotocollectie werk|work, Diemen
TNT Post Kunstcollectie, Den Haag

De volgende instellingen hebben werk in stock:
Eduard Planting Gallery | Fine Art Photographs, Amsterdam
SBK Amsterdam KNSM, Amsterdam

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