Erwin Olaf: Skin Deep
Erwin Olaf’s latest personal project, Skin Deep, investigates our relationship with the human form, and more deeply, the human body.
The series exists in a world that is precious to Erwin, with backdrops made of imagery taken from a mansion in Holland, proving as transitory as the moments captured on film. Erwin has shot at the Dutch mansion many times before and for this project visited the day before it was to be completely redone, photographing what would become the set pieces for Skin Deep: the home’s interior would become the backgrounds, printed and rehung in his studio.
He chose to work with a collection of models that represented different races, sexes, and personalities all for the statement that he was making: that we need to take ownership of our bodies once more. As explained by the representing gallery, Hamiltons Gallery, the over exposure and sexualizing of the human body has reshaped the way we see the form as a commodity to be bought and sold. Erwin’s Skin Deep presents us with what has changed and gives up the opportunity to confront it in a new way. “After so many years constructing my own dream world, I wanted to go back to pure form,” Erwin explains. “This series is still part of my ideal world, but it is less constructed, and as a result, closer to the ideal of purity.” The reclining nudes tease sexuality but also show line, ripple, surface, and texture, with a stillness that implies statue. Erwin’s vision is for us to see these models as tangible things that own their own selves, as opposed to an ownable object.
You can check out Erwin Olaf’s Skin Deep at Hamiltons Gallery in London through November 14th.Erwin Olaf, Skin Deep, Female nude No. 04, 2015, © Studio Erwin OlafErwin Olaf, Skin Deep, Female nude No. 08, 2015, © Studio Erwin OlafErwin Olaf, Skin Deep, Male nude No. 01, 2015, © Studio Erwin OlafErwin Olaf, Skin Deep, Male nude No. 03, 2015, © Studio Erwin Olaf