State of Delusion / 2008, photographic series

One surely cannot forget the very first moment that gets in touch with the work of Erik Olofsen. It creates such an intriguing impact that one is left totally astounded, thing that is even more important nowadays where art often seems to have lost its primary goal to communicate with the spectator. Erik’s mental spaces raise questions above spatial and social relationships, identity and perception, the visible and the unseen, creating parallel worlds where nothing is exactly what it seems and that's pretty fine indeed! You cannot simply look at his installations, you form a part of them and they become a companion to a trip with an open ending.

The optical illusions, the distorted images, the play of light and shadow, even the use of sounds form part of the hard to define emerging spaces and contribute to the experience of one being lost. With the senses turned on, imagination really flies. Having already a very interesting trajectory that has led him to expose from Belgium and Taiwan to Canada and Spain, this talented Dutch artist continues surprising the world with his creations.

We are proud to share with all of you the exclusive interview that offered us for Yatzer!

State of Delusion | 2008, installation view

Well Erik, how did everything start?
At some point as a child there was a moment I became aware that all the products, things and devices surrounding us are coming from somewhere, made by someone, produced in factories. Of course I knew on some level that this was the case, but it was more an experience of full realization of the complete artificiality of our surroundings, a sort of a shock. I guess my fascination for the fiction of reality is rooted in this experience.

In which way the locations chosen and the surrounding space affect your proper installations?
In the last few years I have been working intensely on developing the idea of the physical and conceptual artificiality of constructions. This has mainly resulted in large-scale installations that are made in conjunction with the existing space.
As far as these works are concerned, one could even turn the question around.
It seems that the installations are somehow affecting the existing space.
Especially in my architectural works there is a thin line between where the existing space ends and the installation begins and vice versa.

State of Delusion | 2008, installation view

Which are the materials you are using and why?
I use a wide scale of materials and devices. It really depends on the result I have in mind. I have been working with industrial robots and specialized high-speed video equipment for certain projects, and with cardboard, paper and recycled wood for others. I try to use materials or equipment that come closest to the experience or function of the initial idea and to avoid anything else that does not add something or has no specific purpose.

What are you currently working on? Which is the working process that you follow?
Currently I am developing some ideas for a continuation of one of my last works - "State of Delusion". Moving between video, sculpture and architecture, different perspectives are piled up and intertwine in each other in a folded up space; spaces emerge within other spaces. It will get more concrete when I will be working in an actual space. Making models is not really my thing; it seems that the one to one scale is extremely important for almost all my works.
Rather than working purely towards an outlined end result I usually incorporate the in-between moments along the way. My original plans generally get deformed in the process of making due to these unforeseen interferences and new outcomes. This is done up till the extent where process becomes part or even forms the actual structure of the work.

Fold | 2008, installation view

Possible Worlds | 2008, photographs and installation

Mental Pollution | 2007, installation view

Your creations often trap the visitor that finds himself in a space full of surprises. In which way becomes the spectator a part of your installations?
It has a lot to do with the physical experience of being in the space and having a one on one relationship with the work. The viewer feels artificial in an artificial construction: to find that not only are they caught in a trap that is foreign to them, but that they actually form part of it.

A lot of people see your work as a kind of a spatial investigation. What are you trying to transmit through the manipulation of space?
For me it’s more about the performing of a psychological or sociological investigation. I use space as a vehicle or a medium. Like a book or a film functions through use of time, my installations make use of space. By moving through the installation, meaning is generated through an apprehension of structural patterns, tensions and balances rather than a recording of constituent elements.  Reflecting the experiences generated in the installations, the viewer becomes an assembler, an active agent in these investigations.

Suspension of Disbelief | 2007, installation view

Suspension of Disbelief | 2007, installation view

Which are your artistic influences? Which is the role of architecture in your work?
I make use of constructions that look like architecture but don’t necessarily have to function like architecture. The works are a kind of mental spaces that aim to evoke some sort of process in one’s mind. On another level these installations have qualities that can perhaps be best described as cinema without a timeline.

Your creations often give the impression to have survived out of a war or an earthquake. Are you trying to raise questions about fear, security and the way the man acts under the unpredictable?
Those subjects are surely involved, though I don’t think I am aiming for them directly. I try to put more emphasis on the sensitivity of the piece and to reveal the mechanisms that lie behind our feeling of security.

Tell us something about your future plans.
Oh, I don’t think that far ahead. In my way of working, one thing leads to another, so I have to keep my mind in the here and now.

Colliding Room | 2003, installation view

Colliding Room | 2003, installation view

Remotely Here | 2003, installation view

Remotely Here | 2003, installation view

Shift | 2005, video installation

In Places | 2004, video installation

The mental spaces of Erik Olofsen

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