Friday, June 11, 2004

Olaf Martens

Olaf Martens

Información de la Galerie f5,6.

East German artist Olaf Martens (born 1963 in Halle, Germany). His work will also be shown at Paris Photo 2006.
Martens is interested in staging his pictures like a theatre play. In his often humorously constructed images, Martens combines a take on fashion, documentary, conceptual, social, and even animal photography and art historical and socio-political references. His work cannot be categorised but is a combination of what can be termed a kind of post - modern eclecticism.
Martens undermines the seemingly homogenous facade of the photographic. His works is characterised by uniting contrary details, and refiguring them in a very unique and hybrid manner. This leaves many questions to the viewer, not apparent on first glance.
The theme of the outside and the outsider has been a recurring theme in Martens work from the very beginning. His images are most often taken in broken factories, the outskirts of cities, in cities like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Turkey and East Germany. The outsider roles recurring in Martens' world, in a sense similar to David Lynch's imagery, are cleaning women, dwarfs, seamstresses, overly fat women, strippers, dancers, transvestites etc. They inhabit and take the opposite end of the spectrum, as Martens ironically combines them with, at first glance, seemingly flawless models. Yet, the model appears in latex, gas masks, workers' outfits and high heels, adding another hybrid layer to his work.
Another recurring theme is the idea of the accident and imperfection. Often people are wounded or in dangerous situations. Or people are rushing through his scenes that should not really be there. It is important that the models often have their eyes half closed, or that the image itself exists by purely coincidence.
The more the viewer engages in Olaf Martens' constructed worlds, the more complex his images become, as the Russian dolls that seemingly bear endless numbers of dolls inside each other.
Olaf Martens allows us to indulge and re-negotiate our own levels of fantasy, making his work highly interesting.Olaf Martens studied photography at the highly renowned Leipzig Academy for "Graphik und Buchkunst". His contemporaries are the well-known "Leipzig School" with artists such as Neo Rauch, Tim Eitel or Tilo Baumgärtel.
His work has been exhibited in many museum group exhibitions on contemporary German photography as well as in solo exhibitions at the Kunst Museum Bonn, Grassi Museum Leipzig, Moscow House of photography, Leopold Museum Vienna, German Historical Museum in Berlin, to name but a few. Concurrently to the show at Galerie f5,6, Martens' work is also being shown in a one-man show at the Kunstforum in Halle. He has exhibited in galleries nationally and internationally. His work is included in collections such as the FC Gundlach Collection and the Sammlung Goetz, Munich.
His work has appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin, Der Spiegel, Art and Stern, Harpers Bazaar Russia and many more. He has published five books on his work.



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