Erwin Olaf: Perfect Moment–Incomplete World
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Erwin Olaf: Perfect Moment–Incomplete World

Session Information

Number of Sessions
Erwin Olaf: Perfect Moment–Incomplete World
日曆圖案 2022/08/13 09:00 ~ 2022/11/27 18:00

Event Details

2022 / 08 / 13 ~ 11 / 27   Gallery 101


Erwin Olaf: Perfect Moment–Incomplete World

Curator    PARK Hyun-Jin 

“Erwin Olaf: Perfect Moment-Incomplete World” is curated by the Suwon Museum of Art in Korea. The exhibition features a selection of 134 of Olaf’s photography, installation, and video works, several series created across the span of 40 years. The curation is separated into four categories: “12 X Erwin Olaf,” “Moments: Epic Rending,” “Cities: Between Fantasies,” and “Classics: Contemporaneous,” each manifesting how Olaf’s seemingly calm and perfect moments of everyday life are in fact revelations of the “imperfect world” of contemporary society.

Special Section12 x Erwin Olaf

Paintings in the Rijksmuseum have been a great source of inspiration for Erwin Olaf ever since he was a child. Together with general director Taco Dibbits, Erwin Olaf made a selection of his photographs and paintings from the museum’s collection that engage with one another. This dialogue shows how the photographer faces the same challenges as painters and creates a delicate world that strikingly resembles the reality in which we stand.

Section 1Moments: Epic Rending

Olaf depicts dramatic human emotions by meticulously staging his works’ backgrounds. Human frailty is a common theme for the artist. Since the 2000s, he has focused mostly on feelings and emotions. Olaf also began to add narrative staging to his visual images by actively utilizing photography and other art media, creating a circular narrative in his works. The Keyhole (2012) is an installation of still photographs attached to a structure that projects two films within. The work has a cyclical nature: when viewers look through the keyhole in the structure, the subjects in the photographs displayed on the outside stare back at the viewers.

Section 2Cities: Between Fantasies

In the 2010s, Olaf began to create series of works against the background of real cities. From this period, the boundary between reality and artistic fiction became looser in his works. This exhibition’s second section Cities: Between Fantasies documents the artist’s escape from photography’s traditional purpose as a tool to record reality. He began to weave narratives into his photographs through indirect revelations of the fantasies projected by each rapidly changing city. Today, Olaf’s works are still characterized by his exploration of the relationship between reality and fantasy.


Section 3Classics: Contemporaneous

In this series, Olaf begins capturing transcendent images against the backdrop of nature. These images resemble 19th-century Romantic paintings, but they express the “perfect moment” by depicting the relationship between humanity and nature, a major issue today, in an imperfect world. A closer look at the figures in the tranquil black-and-white landscape reveals that they seem to have lost their connection to nature, wearing headphones or taking selfies instead of recognizing the vastness around them. This highlights humanity’s arrogant neglect of nature, contrasted by the rising fog and frightening mountains that imply that humans can never overcome nature, which is infinite. The artist deliberately uses ambiguous symbols to confuse viewers, leaving them to imagine the possible conclusions to his works.


Supervisor _ Ministry of Culture

Organizer _ National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Curatorial Team _ Suwon Museum of Art

Cooperator _ Netherlands Office Taipei



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