Olaf Rauh, born in Leipzig in 1968, is a leader of the new generation of German photographers. He radically deviates from quests of objectivity, neutrality, and all documentary aspects in order to better disclose artifice of the real and highlight the specificity of his subjects.
In addition, Galerie Richard, New York will exhibit the first series he has ever created, Playgrounds (2001), as his first solo exhibition in the United States from June 29th to July 31st.
His series "Paris Code" includes photographs of Paris during 2004. Most of the titles refer to the shop window signs in his photographs. His work allows one to feel like following a wanderer in search of capturing the truth of Paris, rather than a touristic or documentary approach to the city's discovery. The images of the streets are streaked with horizontal lines and shapes are distorted, making them seem unrecognizable, almost ghostly. In this sense of speed—from traffic circulation—only the advertising signs seem to be the static objects in the image. Time is not extended but fragmented, stretched, and shortened simultaneously. Space-time is utilized like variables and no longer like equations, like bursts from a clash—very rich and complex. Here, the flux of video imagery precedes the photography. The films are projected in accelerated and slow motions. Only after this complex manipulation, the photograph is taken. Olaf Rauh’s digital transformations result in a preponderant place played in with traffic circulation in the animation and everyday perceptions of Paris.
"Paninsula", created in 2008, allows you to dive into the artist’s imagination of an unknown pacific island, where happy owners live in a paradisiacal oasis. Geometric architecture contrasts the surrounding luxurious jungle. When facing Olaf Rauh’s works, One always questions how the original image was, and if some of it still remains. What has been reworked, reconstructed, and stitched from all pieces and how? All the works of this series make us think that each creation is a result of a mix of 2 images, an image of a jungle and an image of buildings constructed—in some cases by the artist himself —by inserting pixel blocks like a mason would stack blocks of concrete. In the photograph titled "Paninsula 10", the whole image is a pure digital creation like a painter who enjoys the absolute liberty of creating his own canvas.
"Multiscan" is a series that is very different from Rauh's previous because of the obvious lack of subject or theme. These photographs were taken in every corner of the world. As the title suggests, the link between the photographs is the shooting technique: scanning. Each photograph is a result of one or several scanning passages. Therefore photographs are very saturated in color with unreal denseness. Moving shapes are transformed in ethereal polychromatic masses. The artist did insert one work without any manipulation in this series. As to other images, he scanned the same image several times and constructed it from the different scans. By putting aside all possibilities of technical understanding, spectators can find the plenitude of the artistic content in each of his work.
Olaf Rauh—exhibition after exhibition—irrevocably, without any possibility of going back, meticulously destroys any illusion of objectivity regardless of image and at the same time experiments with new territory of creation in pure delight.