Paulien Oltheten: To Those That Will, Ways Are Not Wanting

Opening Friday June 21, 2019 – Friday July 12, 2019

Gallery Hours Daily 12:00 – 21:00

Ag Galerie is pleased to announce the opening of Paulien Oltheten’s solo exhibition titled “For those that will, ways are not wanting”.

We look forward to welcoming you on Friday!
Paulien Oltheten’ photos, performances, and videos explore human behaviour in public spaces. She goes to parks, plazas and streets of big cities for direct observation, finding unique activity, repetitive gestures, objects or design elements there. She then connects these events, creating a narrative formalised in words, photographs and moving images.
Oltheten’s prompt for taking a picture is typically a physical observation: walking, leaning, pressing, pushing, pulling, tumbling. Hereby she focusses on how changes in gesture or posture can affect one’s spatial presence. Starting from this abstract viewpoint, she then adds other layers such as social, cultural, or political context. Observing in this manner enables her to forge commonalities between forms that you might normally view or assign as culturally specific and distinct.
In this exhibition Paulien Oltheten shows her latest work for which she travelled to both Isfahan in Iran and Samara in Russia. At first she focused on the river that streams through both cities and that both had been changed ‘temporary’ into a new public space because of the season or the climate change. But soon she made other significant observations along the way.
The result is a photoseries and video. The video that bares the title of the exhibition shows playful image combinations of seemingly simple observations that, once combined and rhythmically edited, can become funny and poetic. For example. A man walks thoughtfully across the dry bed of the dry Zayandeh Rood river, another man walks on ice on the Volga in the same rhythm. By just seeing them next to each other you suddenly notice how beautiful and personal their walk can be. An Iranian man in the same dry riverbank shows dried-up shells, destined for his aquarium, whilst a man ice-fishing in Samara shows how his freshly caught fish becomes instantly freezer-ready.
The painted metal of a pedestrian stopper in Iran results in all sorts of socially interesting manoeuvres. The material corresponds with the metal of an awkwardly bouncing step on a hovercraft in Samara (descending it requires special skills). Both situations initially appear Jacques Tati-esque, but if you read through the lines you could also see them more metaphorically.
This exhibition shows the parallel realities of two places in different countries and forms a telling display of how cultures can be read in parallel, against each other and with each other. Seeing them together reveals an added truth. 

Ag Galerie : #43 South Azodi St., Karim Khan St., Tehran, Iran