Oliver Laric at Kunstverein Braunschweig

Artist: Oliver Laric

Exhibition title: Jahr des Hundes

Curated by: Jule Hillgärtner, Nele Kaczmarek

Venue: Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

Date: December 8, 2018 – February 17, 2019

Photography: Stefan Stark / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kunstverein Braunschweig

Oliver Laric has utilized the potential expandability of figures in early works, in which he appropriated and scanned neoclassical sculptures and reanimated them as his own 3D objects – granting them “a second birth” (Laric). Oliver Laric‘s interest in this instability of the figure and generic forms that combine shape and movement becomes also visible in his independent researches into the history of international animated film. While searching for scenes in which people or objects were transformed, Oliver Laric developed the video work o.T. in 2014/15, for which the artist redrew and freely combined a number of preexisting sequences and characters.

In front of a neutral white background, hybrid creatures mutate from character to character, from person to object, or from animal to machine. The neat face of a baby peels out of a stooping old man, while elsewhere the fingers of a hand distort into the bony branches of a tree, or a stretching boy merges into a red sports car. In between, threatening hybrid beings, shiny machines with trapped human limbs, or mythological chimeras are shown. Objects, animals, and humans are no longer static, or even clearly distinguishable entities: one always bears aspects of the other within itself; everything is subjected to constant change and in a state of becoming. Laric notes: “I like when  there’s an openness or a generosity to a form that can just become and continue to become, and is never fixed.”

Fluid transformations – the continuous transformation between positions that cannot find a stop or end point – are taken one step further in the work Betweenness, 2018. Here, the focus shifts from pure metamorphosis to the precise consideration of the change in form itself. Unlike the mentioned previous work, in which the animation is generated from a series of individual frames, Oliver Laric developed a method for Betweenness in which a defined set of lines change their positions over time as part of a vector graphic. The reduced black lines draw the silhouettes of people, mushrooms, monkeys – everything inorganic seems to have left this cosmos. In the process, the dichotomous differentiation between human and non-human living retreats in favor of a more complex understanding of organisms. Oliver Laric also consciously refrains from referential ballast – pop or art-historical quotes that have shaped many of his works to date – in order to keep the video clearly legible even without specific background knowledge. The particular atmosphere of the work is also shaped by the soundtrack, a composition by Ville Haimala, with whom Oliver Laric regularly collaborates. In a cycle of emotions, the visual level follows the soundtrack in three chapters.

Framed by the video works o.T. and Betweenness, Oliver Laric shows a new five-part series of renderings. Once again, heads, organs, animal silhouettes and strangely vital looking stones appear in the picture – but their categories remains uncertain. Unlike in the video works, the individual segments seem more fragmented and superimposed. Their symbiosis is either not or not yet completed, the fantastic or ecstatic situation seems to be abruptly frozen in limbo. Printed on shiny metallic paper, the works operate on the boundary between photography and sculpture. They are originally based on photographs and drawings that have been translated into 3D models, rendered, and then set in space in relation to each other. “For each sculpture that becomes physical, there are many variations that do not” (Laric).

With the sculpture Hundemensch, 2018, the Kunstverein garden will also be included in the exhibition. This sculpture is the result of Oliver Laric‘s research on historical depictions of anthropomorphic figures. As a free translation of the Frog-Man by Jean Carriès from the 1890s, the artist has developed a human body with the head of a dog, bending protectively over another dog. Oliver Laric: “I chose the dog because I wanted to work with an animal that is closely entangled with humans or, put differently, is a minority in the wild and a majority in captivity. (…) But, like in the video, I’m not referring to a specific, charismatic animal. It’s not Laika, or Lassie, or Hachiko, or any dog that you would know, but rather the idea of a dog – a generic, basic dog.”

After studying at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Oliver Laric (born 1981 in Innsbruck, AT) had solo exhibitions at the Schinkelpavillon, Berlin; the Kunsthalle Winterthur (both 2017); the Secession, Vienna (2016); and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington (2014). Oliver Laric recently exhibited his work in group exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2018); the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017); the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); and the New Museum, New York (2015).

GUEST ROOM: LUCY BEECH

As a comment or contrast to the main exhibition, artists and curators are invited to come and make use of what was originally the guest room at the Villa Salve Hospes. Invited by Oliver Laric, Lucy Beech (born 1985 in Hull, UK) exhibits her video work Pharmakon, 2016. Based on conversations with psychologists and alternative practitioners who utilize alternative treatment methods in therapy groups and online communities, Lucy Beech observes the special group dynamics between female patients in the interplay between self-expression and healing. What narrative needs to be found for one‘s own sufferings in order to obtain a recognized diagnosis? And to what extent do the social expectations of sufferers diverge from their physical reality?

Oliver Laric, Hundemensch, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Hundemensch, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Hundemensch, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, o.T., 2014/15, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery & Metro Pictures, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, o.T., 2014/15, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery & Metro Pictures, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Intestines, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Intestines, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Ginseng, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Polypore, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Spider Crab, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Untitled, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Betweenness, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Oliver Laric, Betweenness, 2018, Installation view Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Lucy Beech, Pharmakon, 2018, Filmstill, 2016, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

Lucy Beech, Pharmakon, 2018, Filmstill, 2016, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Stefan Stark

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