For the forty years of Erwin Olaf’s career, the Rabouan Moussion gallery presents in exclusivity in France its latest series: Palm Springs. This exhibition of photographs and videos also celebrates 15 years of complicity between the Dutch photographer and his Parisian gallery. At present, the Netherlands is dedicating a double retrospective exhibition to The Hague.
With Berlin (2012), Shanghai (2017), Palm Springs closes its triptych on changing cities. Berlin was made at a time when dark clouds were piling up above of Europe with the questioning of freedom of expression, democracy and the transmission of power from the old to the new generation.
In Shanghai, a hypermodern Chinese metropolis, Olaf examines what happens to an individual in the midst of 24 million people.
With Palm Springs, it is climate change that is at the heart of his thinking, whose treatment is reminiscent of America in the 1960s.
“There are many thorns in Olaf’s California – and people show less optimism than in his previous series. Palm Springs could be the third part of a trilogy or the third set of a new tone that is now Olaf’s. It is becoming increasingly clear that Erwin Olaf is no longer playing (as long as he did one day really). Berlin, Shanghai, Palm Springs … all poisoned in various ways, all betraying their promise, do not leaving only profits – and losses. ” Francis Hodgson
“Palm Springs (2018) is both a progression (this is the first time I photograph landscapes) and a step back. I came back to the 1960s. I love mid-century details in Palm Springs and the stories they evoke. I had studied the photos of Gordon Park, a way of seeing America very different from that of Norman Rockwell. What interested me was the stylized documentary; I wanted to introduce a little more the real world. I loved all the details of the places we photographed, for example a yellowed grass because it was very hot and dry. My team was preparing to spray it green, but I preferred to leave it as it is because it is the the reality of our time, where the climate is changing as we stay in our closed communities. Reality creeps into the paradise we are desperately trying to maintain. As a story emerged during the work and selection of photos, I began to consider this as a parable about the distribution of wealth, so unjust and so unsustainable in the long run, between the different classes of our society. ” Erwin Olaf
“What I would like to see in my photographs is a perfect world with a crack inside. My job is to make the image appealing enough to make people want to look at the story I tell them, and then give them a slap. ” Erwin Olaf
Erwin Olaf: Palm Springs
May 16 – July 27, 2019
(interruption from June 17 to June 27)
11 rue Pastourelle