Erwin Olaf: Berlin

7 March - 7 June 2013

In early 2013, Hamiltons presented Erwin Olaf's newest series of work, Berlin. In a significant departure from his previous projects, Berlin was set and filmed in six different historical locations of the grand city, rather than imagined and constructed in Olaf's Amsterdam studio.


Funded in part with the proceeds of his 2011 Vermeer prize, the most important cultural recognition conferred by the Dutch government, this series demonstrates that Erwin Olaf has again broken the boundaries of contemporary photographic practice. At once historical and contemporary, with a tension-filled, and ever-shifting narrative, Olaf manages to entrance, perplex, confound and delight viewers with a powerful range of imagery.


In addition to Olaf's large and small format colour prints within the exhibition, there is something new to his oeuvre: small format carbon prints, which he made himself, each a small gem and unique in tonality and appearance. Each made in a tiny edition of only 3 prints, and printed using an almost extinct photographic process, the images are reconstituted, providing the viewer with a perception of the past, even while still securely anchored in the present.


Erwin Olaf: Berlin was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue containing essays by Francis Hodgson, and Maartje van der Heuvel, of the University of Leiden.