Vlad Olariu: Cruise, 2009, autoclaved cellular concrete, wooden branch, 60x60x35 cm
Courtesy Point contemporary, Bucharest
Point contemporary at PREVIEW BERLIN – THE EMERGING ART FAIR
Solo show VLAD OLARIU
Opening Thursday 24th September 2009 from 6 to 10 pm
25th – 27th September 2009
Point contemporary at BABUSCH, BERLIN
Vlad Olariu | Deep
Opening Tuesday 22nd September, from 5 to 9 pm
22 September – 26 November 2009
Project Space for Art from and about Elsewhere
Kopenhagener Str. 33 (Aufg. I, 1. Stock)
10437 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
The 25 years old Romanian artist Vlad Olariu is mainly known by the public through his autoclaved cellular concrete works (ACC is renowned for being one of the cheapest and most reliable construction materials) representing iconic images of the former Communist bloc society, who’s distinctive feature was the will and power to construct soviet apartment buildings for all the population of Eastern Europe. Vlad Olariu gathered together in his installations all sorts of equipment used on construction sites both before the fall of the Communist regime and afterwards: wheelbarrows and trucks, mixers and bulldozers, tower cranes and dredgers, forklifts and trenchers and so on. In spite of their fundamental seriousness, all of his works have in common the looks of some bizarre collection of heavy machinery toys, fact that apparently gives the artist the power of a master puppeteer.
In relation to that, the artist describes his own objects as perverse and versatile, lacking innocence and being able to become ideal targets of desire in a fetishistic way. Actually, their reality connects the viewer to a world of utopic ideas, in which such goals are still possible and likely to accomplish: thus, Vlad Olariu’s mind turns out to be a Utopian lab.
Aside from his passion for a universe under continuous construction (made up of heavy machinery and peculiar looking buildings), Olariu is also interested in ecological concepts regarding the intrusion or taking over natural terrains: the artist shows this excess of civilization over the wilderness by „carving” its consequences: global warming, pollution, natural disasters. From this point of view, the art of Vlad Olariu is the work of an involved observer, an ecological activist, who takes action through the ways he knows best: the ways of art and ideas.
Therefore, his ecological interest has recently become the central theme of five installations shown this September at The Emerging Art Fair: Preview Berlin. Let’s look them up:
Around the world 2009is a kinetic installation made-up of several plastic plane models (Boeing 747 and Airbus A380) that spin around a metal core through transmission cords linked to an electrical engine: this stands for a conceptual abbreviation of flying and of how easily we accustomed to the idea of it, forgetting the dangers it sometimes implies.
Impression, Before Sunrise (project for the Black Sea) 2009is a large wooden panel covered in bitumen (alluding to the renowned impressionist work by Claude Monet), in which Vlad Olariu points out the difference in quality between today’s natural waters and landscapes and those of the past.
Meltdown 2008is a group of small heavy machinery plastic toys melted together, that underline the ways in which overextended construction of buildings and overpopulation determine climate and ecosystem changes.
Platform 2009is a mixed media and bitumen sculpture that stretches on the same message as the work Impression, Before Sunrise. In addition to that, Platform lays a special emphasis with regard to oil industry and how it affects the natural aquatic habitat that is being destroyed or distorted, in order to fit the world’s industrial interests.
Tower 2009is an installation made of autoclaved cellular concrete pieces that carry a symbolic message about freedom: freedom of religion, of beliefs, of speech and of choice. Also, Tower might be seen as a pleading for eco-architecture, due to its organic shapes and low costs production.
In conclusion, Vlad Olariu’s objects and installations are meant as cultural toys that always carry politically and socially connoted messages, hidden under or behind their manufactured child-like appearance.
At Preview Berlin. The Emerging Art Fair, Vlad Olariu participated on the behalf of Point contemporary from Bucharest and, during this time, he presented some of his most recent works at Babush, a non-profit space for art located in Berlin (in Prenzlauer Berg) and managed by curator Barbara J. Scheuermann. Adina Zorzini – Art critic and Curator
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