Jacco Olivier is both a painter and a filmmaker who fuses painting and moving image to create short, intimate animations. Painted as simply as possible, in lush, casual strokes each painting is repeatedly reworked and systematically photographed at each stage of development. 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.
To date, Olivier's works have been small-scale single projections of concise narrative episodes that occur in a dreamlike world. In this exhibition the centrepiece Whale is a seven-minute film split across three projections and spanning some twelve metres across the upper gallery. Imagining a whale's movements, Olivier has rendered the animal so that it disappears and reappears in a painterly field; sometimes it is clearly in view and at others it dissolves into abstraction. Olivier comments, "all the time you are looking at a whale being painted in a tentative, exploratory motion, looking for some truth, looking for some redemption in the paint."
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. In Calling, for instance, a village church comes into view as a bird beats its wings overhead. A phone call is made from a booth on the street and as it rings a mother and her children walk down a staircase. A pink house floats by, and a figure draws back the curtain to view the world outside. This figure might be the same character Olivier was inspired by:
"I imagine the exhibition to be about a guy behind a window of his house looking at the things outside, mixing them with his own memories and desires, with the whale upstairs representing his thoughts. That's all I need to make it work in my head, but is not necessarily something the viewer sees, or even has to see."
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