Erwin Olaf: Separation (Series II)

Body of Review:

Slick or sick?  Or both? If one has something against the world of fetishism and S&M, Erwin Olaf's Separation series certainly won’t help : ) .  Contrary to the violence of his Royal Blood collection and the subtle loneliness portrayed in his Grief series, this photo depicts the darker side of isolation – of Modern Baroque and sexuality in a cult of its own.  Yet, even when the mother and child models are dressed in the usual latex that represents this fetish cult, there's nothing kinky in the way the photo is created…and definitely a creepy vision that demands your attention.

A dysfunctional family portrait?  Look closer and you will notice that only the child can see and the mother's eyes are unknown, unseen or blinded.  Whether the child makes it to her arms, creating that emotional bond, is for us to only guess.  Did Erwin use this as a metaphor of that broken link between a parent and a child after a dysfunctional rift or divorce?  Or a dark family secret that remains unrecognized…even though the childs arms are outstretched with love?

Whatever the reason, there is a feeling of suffering and restriction amist dark family secrets lying beneath the surface.  This modern artwork certainly raised a few eyebrows in the recent Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair.  I'd borrow a few words from André Leon Talley and say that the work is 'patently gauche'.  On the other hand, this set of works, while disturbing...I have to say I like it.

The Genius Behind the Obra:

Erwin Olaf is a master of studio photography and photojournalism, where most of his works have made it into the international art scene as early as 1988.  Fearless, he always takes the risk and venture into daring, provocative and often controversial subjects in his creative works.  He also explored creative works in films.  Since the early 80's, he lives and works in Amsterdam.

Awards:    2008 – Lucie Awards, Advertising
        2006 – International Color Aawrds, First Place
        2005 – Photography Annual Award for Hairdresser's ( Rain Series )
        2004 – AOP, Silver Award
        2003 – Paradise The Club, AOP
        2003 – Grote Paul
        2003 – Nicorette Advertising - Gold
        2001 & 1999 – Silver Lion, Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival
        1998 – Young European Photographers, First Prize