For this image, Olaf Breuning invented a revised stone age corrected for the cinema in which dolmens and leather were replaced by surf boards and neoprene clothing. With the beach as a backdrop, the hyper-aestheticized vikings seem to pose for a surf ad. The collage on the horizon line, the heterogenous nature of the lighting and the costume-like clothing all point to the mise en scène. The artist stated: “I am trying to invent a primitive tribe”.
In the work We only move when something changes !!!, Olaf Breuning composes a portrait of posed antiglobalization protesters, each wearing clown noses, inside of a scene reminiscent of an event. Like in the work Easter Bunnies (2004) (photographs of the Moai of Easter Island with big ears and rabbit teeth supported by scaffolding) the artist introduces the outside frame into his photographic frame. The detail of the red noses, that punctuate the image, re-examine the photograph's meaning by introducing the role of the absurd inside of contemporary global issues.
Olaf Breuning's photographs, videos, performances and installations play with codes of mass production with references to publicity, fashion and cinema and “high” and “low” art. Between fiction and reality, fairytales and triviality, nightmare and bad jokes, the artist immerses his viewers decidedly into a pop and kitsch culture which is constantly being revisited. His works, made up by quotations, collages, and sampling are highly built. Often hyper-aestheticized, they work as "script-machines" reminiscent of special effects from the film industry. The artist frequently holds up a distorting mirror to his viewer, posing several questions of critique and play.
Olaf Breuning was born in 1970 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. He lives and works in New York and Zurich.