Erwin Olaf’s (b. The Netherlands, 1959) art explores the human experience through meticulously staged scenes. His distinctive aesthetic is highly stylized and perfectly polished, yet his work penetrates deep beneath a pretty facade. Instead, the heart of Olaf’s work addresses social issues, taboos, and conventions, often through subtle or mysterious details.
Simultaneously cinematic and painterly, Olaf’s photographs at first glance appear to transcend the unphotogenic realities of the world. Subjects are perfectly lit, their clothing impeccably tailored, and the built sets models of domestic achievement. Yet, glazed into this tantalizing veneer, there is often a detail—a turned head, wet eyes, a yellowed lawn—that opens a portal into a mysterious reality and emotional tension. The artist describes his creations as “a perfect world with a crack."