Olaf Breuning – Post-Modernist Nomad

A man sprinkled with spaghetti, or body parts painted with black marker and pretending funny figures — this is a characteristic mark of Breuning’s work. His art is provocative and targeted at exposing the clichés that surround us.

An exhibition of Olaf Breuning’s photography entitled “Woman and Dead” is the fourth part of a yearly project, “Transkultura,” which has a topic born from observations of the surrounding culture. Breuning’s works depict this culture, but in a very unrealistic and critical way. His works (installations, pictures, short films) are inspired by his numerous voyages, and carried out depending on his exhibition dates.

For the Krakow exhibition, he made the sculpture “Woman and Dead.” Apart from this, a group of photos made after 2000, the dual-screen film ?Home? and 40 drawings of Krakow are being presented.

Breuning was born is Switzerland in 1970, but lives in New York. He travels extensively through Europe, Africa and South America searching for properly oneiric places for his large format photography. Basically, his art parasitizes popular culture codes and stereotypes. It is characterized by abundant decorations, which serve for fascinating, riveting and representing surrealism.

“I think artists and art-crazy people are more and more bored with stereotypical art production. They want to belong to the normal world, not a part of an art system.”

Breuning’s art lives in the pop culture, roaming around in areas of “empty” signs, juggling copies of other copies, without any original. His work seems to be strangely familiar, because it combines reality and fantasy, the highbrow and the lowbrow. His photos may be received as the projection of a progressive and specific colonization of poor countries by the tourist industry, for instance, when he shows a snowman, a chocolate bar and an ice cream to children in an African village (“Chocolate, Snowman and Ice Cream in Africa,” 2004). This artist also uses standard gadgets created by the souvenir industry and produces quasi-travel programs.

“I just wanted to be honest,” says the artist. “I want to work using modern language. I don’t care for people who want to save highbrow art. If they really want to do this, I wish them sweet dreams.”

The exhibition is open April 26 – June 3, Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00-18:00, Thursday until 20:00. Contemporary Art Gallery, Szczepański Square, 3a.

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