The paradox of space as a "whole" and as "emptiness" permeates Olaf Quantius entire oeuvre. In this "whole", coordinates serving orientation exist, and in between there is an "emptiness" in which everything seems possible and yet everything is indeterminate. In Olaf Quantius painting, opposites such as representation and autonomy, foreground and background, presence and dissolution, diffusion and exactness literally "fall in one". The connection between abstract painting and the illusion of abstract painting is a characteristic feature. "Spots" or broad brushstrokes are not the result of spontaneous gestures, but precisely placed by means of masking or painted in an illusionistic manner. Drips allude to "automatic painting" although they are precisely controlled, and parts of the picture illustrate the proverbial "impression of abstract painting" through the tongue-in-cheek use of the splash technique.
This coexistence of contradictory poles is like an allegory of our perception of present-day social reality, in which coordinates shift and orientation can only be gained in a process. This is all the more remarkable when considering that geographical space is surveyed and made accessible by Google Earth, albeit not its definition as "place". For the French anthropologist Marc Augé, a "place" provides room for social and individual orientation. In his view, "non-places" are architectures of transition, such as airports, underground station, refugee camps, shopping malls, or hotel chains, whose indeterminacy finds its culminating point in the infinity of digital space. Nevertheless, Augés question, "Mustnt we conceive a non-place as a happy place?", promises the possible emergence of new structures from "nothingness". Olaf Quantius new series foraldous plays with this nothingness as the "equiprimordiality" of contradictory elements, and the artist lets his paintings pass through different "actual states". The title, foraldous, covertly alludes to the writer Aldous Huxley and his concept of "Istigkeit (Is-ness)", the moment of absolute truth in which one sees and understands everything and is "one with oneself". In the process of everyday seeing, perceiving, and identifying, the "unfathomable mystery of pure being" "flares up" for a short moment, as it were. In this context, Aldous Huxley describes the motif of folds in art history as devices for the introduction of non-representational forms into naturalistic paintings and sculptures. With Olaf Quantius, the motif of the fold is reversed to an abstract naturalism within the spatial structure. The fold as a hybrid being symbolizes the simultaneity of inside and outside, lightness and darkness, representation and presentation. In that Olaf Quantius works connect the perception of space in space and as space, as place and as non-place, as emptiness and as density, they introduce the viewer to a new reality of space that, despite the classical medium of painting, originates in the alterability of our digital perception.