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A decade in Dutch eyes

By Rebecca Lo  (China Daily)

08:17, August 27, 2012

Erwin Olaf's Photography Paradise portraits. Provided to China Daily

The first decade of the 21st century is one where change is the only sure thing. Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf has captured the decade filtered through his own eyes, and his best works are on display to celebrate Art Statement's move to a lofty space in Aberdeen. His work also graced the gallery's inaugural exhibition in 2004.

"Hong Kong is a very dynamic place with international allure," says Olaf, explaining why it's an ideal city for a retrospective of his 2000 to 2010 works. "It's a place that really speaks to me and gives me inspiration. It's very special to me that Art Statements and I have had a connection for the past 10 years. For me as an artist, it is very interesting to see all the changes and to grow in this turbulent world."

Olaf first burst upon the art scene by snagging first prize at the Young European Photographer competition with his series Chessmen in 1988. He followed with an exhibition in Cologne's Ludwig Museum later that year.

He deliberately mixes photojournalism with meticulously crafted studio photography, concentrating on social exclusion under the veneer of a beautiful appearance. Disturbingly provocative, his images explore class, race, sex, customs and habits.

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