Flatland Gallery is introducing Erwin Olaf's newest body of work, aptly titled “Waiting". A video installation of two films, each 50 min. (music: Sebastiaan Roestenburg) and photographs.
Waiting. There may be no human experience that better exemplifies the tension between perfection and collapse than the act of waiting. It is an unavoidable element of quotidian life, of course; civil society is comprised of a network of systems that require the coordination of innumerable moving parts—human error, incompetence, and inefficiency are embedded in the majority of our social rituals. A seamless existence is a figment of the imagination: we wait in line for coffee; we wait for the mail; we wait for the subway. Or our death. And every moment we wait contains the potential for a vast sweep of emotion, the possibility of evolution—or of devolution, from a condition of intention and poise to absolute disintegration.
The two-channel video installation, screened in a gray module is designed specifically for its exhibition and set in the centre of Flatland Gallery. Shown concurrently on the screens in the dark, close space, the women are depicted from two different angles so viewers are offered two perspectives at once. At first, the subjects are pictures of grace: cosmopolitan in sharply tailored outfits, they exude the ordered restraint of Olaf’s youth. Their faces are untroubled. But the moments slip by. Nothing happens and they are trapped onscreen as their patience begins to fray.
In the vide the women are suspended in a state of unknown duration—unknown both to them and to us. Our own discomfort is enhanced by witnessing theirs. As disappointment settles around them like dust; we experience, along with them, the slow and agonizing process of disillusionment. As the seconds tick by, the video’s soaring classical score is the only sound we hear, our only gauge of time’s passing—and it falls upon our ears like a requiem for moments lost.