Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

  • Feje 1min30 2010
    Title : Feje 1min30 2010
  • JO34 Bath 1 2009
    Title : JO34 Bath 1 2009
  • JO34 Bath 2 2009.
    Title : JO34 Bath 2 2009.
  • Reflection 2010
    Title : Reflection 2010
  • Revolution (0 07 13 22) copy
    Title : Revolution (0 07 13 22) copy
  • Revolution (0 23 38 19) copy
    Title : Revolution (0 23 38 19) copy

Jacco Olivier, review by Ayo and Oni Oshodi

The first thing that may strike you upon engaging with Jacco Olivier’s works is a question - how is this being done’ Is this a painting, an animation, a computer graphics programme’ Where does this distinctive world come from’ The indeterminacy of the process is as compelling as the imagery.

The answer is painstaking and simple - each work is created by re-working a painting and photographing every stage and additional brushstroke. The resultant images are then combined together into projected animations. This allows a magical flux between film and paint, mysterious narrative and the hand made mark of the artist.

Having been mesmerised by Olivier’s works in previous exhibitions at Victoria Miro, the increased scale and size of the projections were a revelation. Here was work we could disappear into, none more so than Revolution, a large size installation in the upper gallery. Lasting 24 minutes, Revolution spans the duration of 24 hours in the life of an unspecified universe. We rotate around an axis and gently visit comets, planets and stars - is that a lettuce we can see’ No, just an unusual looking planet… It’s this playfulness with representation and materiality that sets this work apart. It’s easy to stay longer than 24 minutes…

Downstairs in the lower gallery five works ‘hang’ on the walls together, inviting the viewer into other contemplative gently hypnotic states: A bather dries and re-dresses (Bath), a man dives into a lagoon (Transition), a family gather on a beach (Reflection). A face transforms, a surface is traversed aerially (Landscape). In each case we are offered moments which approximate memory more so than either narrative animation or a painting. They are moments in flux but discreet. These tableaux vivants hint at larger narratives we are not privy to, a personal archive cautiously revealed. This selectivity is perplexing. It is never clear why these moments have been singled out, they share an all too comfortable domesticity. Where is the antagonism’ At times it feels this works would sit all too happily in the lobbies of corporate headquaters; but the restraint of the work in turn generates an anxiety’A kink in the spread of crisp linen.

Olivier’s pictorial languages consistently bridges perceived dichotomies. The painterly mark goes hand in hand with the fluidity of digital technology. An art-historicism evident in the Post-Impressionist style and allusion to classical painting, is coupled with fluctuating imagery closer to the dynamic nature of emoticons, moving logos and screensavers of the 21st century. However, the biggest bridge of all remains the movement within the static frame, creating a sense of alternate bubbles of time in which moments loop forever, or a sense of the infinite beyond the section we can see.

We move at Olivier’s pace, the trajectory is unclear, deliciously and delicately slow. Each movement of the brush is enjoyed as it takes us nearer to the artist’s intention and further into his mysterious universe.

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