Erwin Olaf: Grief

15 September - 20 October 2007

M+B is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Dutch photographer and filmmaker Erwin Olaf in GRIEF, opening on September 15 and running through October 20, 2007. This is Olaf's debut exhibition at M+B--and in Los Angeles--following successful gallery and museum exhibitions around the world.

GRIEF is the third and final installment of a trilogy, following his series RAIN and HOPE. Olaf's new body of work is enigmatic narratives and portraits, mostly of women, caught in private moments. The décor, the hairstyles, the clothes, and the effect all reference the early 1960's in the US. The color palette further underscores this.

Like his earlier work, these images are staged, and the models seem caught in a moment of reflection or indecision. Up close, it appears that some of them have been crying, and the colors are similarly drained, but the reason for these tears is never explicit. The images seem intended for a slick lifestyle editorial portfolio, but are unexpectedly moody and haunting. The impact is unsettling.

The artist has been influenced by the styles of this time and inspired by the social change of this period. Olaf was struck by the seeming globalization of the world, the rise of feminism and the middle class, and in particular, the pervasive influence of TV. Although a small child in 1963, Olaf has a powerful early memory of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. The background sound playing at subliminal level to a video, also a part of GRIEf, is the audio of news coverage after the JFK assassination. Also included in the exhibition will be Olaf's HOPE Portraits from the first installment of the trilogy.

Erwin Olaf is unique: funny, inventive, ironic, sensual, and often shocking. He manages to combine his artistic and commercial careers simultaneously, bringing a contemporary imagination and technical ingenuity to a range of projects. In the past year, he has done two surreal editorial portfolios for The New York Times Magazine that brought him to the attention of an American audience and a similarly startling Christmas fashion spread in the UK with The London Sunday Times .

In the past year Olaf has had solo shows in Antwerp, Utrecht, Prague, Brisbane, Milan, and New York, been part of group shows from Montreal to Seoul, Beijing and Paris, and shot new campaigns for Tiger Beer, Kohler, Lee Jeans and People of the Labyrinth. His work is represented in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Groninger Museum, The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the ABN AMRO Collection among others. "Perverse Elegance," a major retrospective traveled to Australia in 2006. Olaf is also creating and directing a children's film titled "Captain Tom." Mr. Olaf lives and works in The Netherlands.