One work of art, a rainbow of photo possibilities. This week’s #whereartthou, a series highlighting exhibitions which inspire visitors to take pictures, is Olaf Breuning’s (@olafbreuning) “Smoke Bombs.” The piece, which is created using a large grid of colorful smoke bombs, was staged during the artist Doug Aitken’s Station to Station (@stntostn), a vibrant 30-day project that includes over a hundred artist-led events and runs at the Barbican in London until July 26. “All the bombs have to be lit at the same time, and there it goes. However the wind blows,” says Olaf, who lives in New York City and presented the piece last week.
The nature of the work – dynamic and colorful — makes it interesting for viewers to photograph, too. “The photos are often more spectacular than the performance itself,” Olaf says. “I love the idea that so many different people make photos from different perspectives. It’s beautiful.”
“Smoke Bombs” is included in a series of 30 videos Station to Station is creating for their Instagram feed. They are also available on the project’s website sequentially, seamlessly. “Station to Station is an event that crosses borders,” Olaf says. “It goes from one creative station to the next.”
Artist Olaf Breuning is the subject of this colorful and quirky video examination of the world he inhabits. It is a devastatingly nuanced cultural commentary that uses his characteristic humor as a lens on the world.
The Avant/Garde Diariesrecently traveled to Olaf Breuning’s getaway house in upstate New York where the artist finds time to breathe fresh mountain air and take a load off from the hustle and bustle of the contemporary art world.
And, of course, he’s always having fun in the process.
For The Art Freaks, he once again makes a comment on where art has been and where it is going. It’s as if he has taken original paintings from our recent past, still wet and dripping and allowed his model to do one full nude rotation. Color appears to shield every inch of the numerous undressed bodies and they are both recognizably human and unemotionally still life. Some of the figures stare blankly, while a few turn their backs to the viewer. The physical actions are performative and while different, not unlike the photographed characters embodied by Cindy Sherman over the course of her career. Olaf Breuning utilizes the practice of traditional photographic portraiture to occupy a position that many artists have attempted to touch upon but few have succeeded in a way that is not overtly derivative. - Katy Hamer