Henrik Olesen

So, seeing as I am in the mood for writing another blog, I’ll write about the little gallery visit I made this past weekend.

After reading about Henrik Olesen’s collages in the Guardian Guide –

He shows a series on the life of Alan Turing, the maverick cryptographer and a founding father of computer science who took his life after being arrested for homosexuality and chemically castrated. It offers a poignant archive of Turing’s life while also addressing issues of social identity.

I was really intrigued and planned a visit. Alan Turing is one of my heroes and I love collages so it sounded a lot of fun. I turned up in Clapham unprepared (didn’t even write down the street name of the gallery) and finally found Studio Voltare. After ringing the doorbell (something I felt a bit strange doing) I was let in to wander around the gallery on my own. The work being displayed however was newly commissioned ‘Mr. Knife & Mrs. Fork’. Not what I was expecting, but hey, I ended up spending over half an hour in there so it must have been helpful in some way. (I emailed Studio Voltaire about this and the Guardian Guide were wrong! Fair enough.) Mostly spent the time trying to grasp what exactly was going on in his work. I’m still learning about fine art/conceptual art (- see, I’m not sure if I’m even using the right terms).  Included was a 2 page A4 programme, featuring a poem written by Olesen to accompany the exhibition, along with the works’ titles, gallery information and a poem (?) by Kurt Schwitters – ‘Cigarren‘ which seems to explore the arranging of the letters in the word ‘Cigarren‘ to a large extent.

got a bit crumpled in my bag!

So – the actual exhibition itself. The work ranged from print/collage to woodwork and 3D. What caught my attention was the range of 32 A3 prints on the table near the far wall of the gallery space. The gallery room was well lit in what seems to be an old church like building

tables with collages & 'Angle' on wall

ceiling, obviously

Going back to the A3 prints, these were all printed on newsprint paper. Source-less newspaper articles were printed in what looked to be random compositions, with phrases printed over in varying typefaces, one even resembling human bodies. Articles seemed to be printed on the other side of the page… this made me feel as if I was missing out on the information which was not on show.

Highlighter pen was used in the same style as documents in an office.

I really liked, particularly on these examples ^ the use of composition, placing of text, overlapping of text, white space and all sorts of other features, especially with the illustrative type. They all appear to be placed at random, in a Dada fashion, however I suspect Olesen had carefully planned this before producing these final pieces for the exhbition (I could be wrong).

The other pieces in the room were mainly made from what looked like found objects.

'Studio Voltaire presents Mr. Knife and Mrs. Fork'

'Portrait of my Mother' 2009, Timber, paint, screws

I liked this one. I am always interested in alternative ways of producing portraits.

To be honest, I still don’t really understand what this whole thing is about, even after reading a short description from the artist. I don’t know if I’m supposed to, maybe it’s to remain personal to the artist? Interesting, nonetheless. I will be returning to the gallery for their next exhibition for sure. Hopefully this blogging business will help me improve my writing/describing/explaining skills. I am always learning!

I still have to write about the new college project and also a short film by Marc Isaacs. But this can wait till tomorrow.


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