Wallpaper | Jacco Olivier

Light work: artist Jacco Olivier fuses painting and film to mysterious effect

Painting and video might seem like creative techniques from two different eras, but the Dutch painter Jacco Olivier has enabled them to live harmoniously side by side in his colourful, amorphous oeuvre.

Olivier unveiled a new exhibition in New York this week – his fourth solo show at Marianne Boesky – which presents both moving and static works. Olivier’s surreal, cinematic creations are typically produced by fusing paintings, photographs and animations. The abstract canvases are often achieved by pooling together translucent acrylic paints to dream-like effect.

Intended to induce moments of quiet contemplation, Olivier’s works are imbued with introspection while seeming to always strive for balance. Instead of relying on figuration or a narrative, he explains that his works are ‘free-flowing visual thoughts, like those in the moments just before sleep’.

This approach is particularly captivating in Adem, which means ‘breath’; a video piece that sees painted elements float delicately across the canvas, as if clouds in the sky. The fact that the animated elements are the more subtle areas of the painting, as where paint is not intentionally applied, makes the different textures all the more immersive. Projected onto a wall, these films are mysterious yet tranquil, further blending the lines between mediums, with the light adding an even more ephemeral quality.

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ABOUT Jacco Olivier

Jacco Olivier fuses painting and filmmaking by repeatedly reworking paintings in generous casual brush strokes and systematically photographing each development. The various stages are combined into projected animations. The resulting films are enigmatic and experiential – moving in and out of abstraction they reveal the traces and decisions made by the artist in the process of painting. While there is a clear and quite complex process involved in their creation, Olivier does not set a thematic agenda for the works, or for their relationship to one another. The films are instead imagined as windows onto converging, and often elegantly simple, moments of daily life – a bus journey, a swim in the ocean, or a walk through the woods. At this convergence of painting and cinema, however, lies an uneasy tension, a feeling that something is about to happen or has just happened that is unexpected and beyond our control.

Jacco Olivier is a graduate of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. He has exhibited worldwide, notably at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY; Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht; MCA Denver, CO; The 56th Venice Biennial, Venice; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; New York City Center/New Museum, New York, NY, and GEM, The Hague. His art is held in many public collections, including Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; the Honart Museum, Tehran; the Zabludowicz Collection, London, and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL. In 2019, he was awarded the Jeanne Oosting Prize for figurative painting in The Netherlands.

Jacco Olivier was born in 1972 in Goes, The Netherlands
He lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands