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"Annee Olofsson: Photographs and Videos"
2003-07-05 until 2003-08-23
UK United Kingdom
Site Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition by Swedish artist Anneč Olofsson. The family unit is often at the heart of this compelling body of work that, in Olofsson's hands, is transformed into something uncanny. The situation presented in her photographic images and videos may appear straightforward: relations of power, family connections, bonds of affection and intense emotion; but there is a unsettling sense of making visible small, even unconscious fears in a familial setting.
Skinned (2002) is a collection of sensual, edgy photographs that are knowingly haunted by the cultural taboos that surround father-daughter relationships, while at the same time attempting to give visual expression to a highly complex, influential relationship. In a deceptively simple series of photographs, a blonde woman appears alone until closer inspection reveals the hands of another underneath her skin-tight top. Skinned is an unsettling work in which the notion of having someone under your skin, now made visual, becomes riddled with ambivalence. The images take on new associations as we discover that the woman is the artist and the hands, which could be seen as intrusive or supportive, belong to her father. In Trick or Treat Olofsson presents a conversation between masked protagonists (the artist and her father). Filmed and staged in an unorthodox setting, the artist creates an uneasy space in which meaning becomes ambivalent.
Olofsson also explores the mother-daughter relationship, in the video: You need her and you want her golden hair she sees you but she won't love you because she really doesn't care (2000) in which the artist's mother, sits on a bed with her daughter, reading out loud love letters sent to the artist by past lovers. The power of this work is once again in its deceptive simplicity, where the words created by one kind of intimate relationship are put into the mouths of an entirely different one.
In Ai, titled after an expression for pain in Swedish, Olofsson, dressed in skin-tight black clothing from head to foot, and drenched in water, assumes the contorted pose of a seventeenth century Italian sculpture of the martyr Saint Cecilia. The updating of the image references the everyday, commonplace experiences of pain whether through sex, class or family histories.
God Bless the absentees (2000) is a series of photographs in which the subjects are clothed to create the illusion of fading in with their domestic surroundings; the visual doubling that occurs ironically heightens the sense of absence in these scenarios.
The ambiguous nuances of Olofsson‚s visual aesthetic are heightened by the use of theatrical staging, where the interplay between family relatives, gender politics and sexuality is masterfully interwoven to create work that resonates far beyond the personal.
Anneč Olofsson was born in Sweden and lives and works in New York. She attended the Royal Art Academy, Oslo, Norway, and has exhibited her work throughout Europe as well as in New York and San Francisco. Text taken from an essay by Nicky Bird which accompanies the exhibition.