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Olaf Rauh

1. Olaf, tell us a bit about your previous exhibition “Playgrounds” at Galerie Richard. Why did you choose playgrounds as a theme and what questions were you inviting your viewers to examine ?

I shot the “Playgrounds” in 2001 on the Lower East Side. I did it with a video camera, and the pictures are film stills from the mpeg files. There was an exhibition in 2004 at the Galerie Richard in Paris but now, the “Playgrounds” have come back home, so to speak. I was originally planning on doing a series dealing with the architecture of New York, but the playgrounds caught my eye. The fragmented digital images produce an almost impressionistic beauty.

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2. What was the most memorable response you have had regarding this series so far ?

When I brought the prints to New York, I carried them in a transport tube. I’ve done that on many occasions, but for some reason, customs pulled me out of the line at the airport this time. I had to unroll them all and show them to the officials. They looked through the pictures and seemed a bit bewildered by the abstraction. One of them asked, “and what is that supposed to be?”. I told them that they are pictures of playgrounds. They shook their heads, laughed and let me through.

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3. Which is more important to you, the subject of your photography, or the way it is executed ?

The process is more important to me.


4. What is it about your creative process that makes you different from other German photographers of your generation ?

I don’t really consider myself a photographer but rather an artist who uses photographic equipment.

" I’m interested in experimentation, in coaxing visually intriguing images out of the technical means."

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5. Throughout your artistic career, you have been exploring speed and traffic and elements of silence. How do you find your inspiration for a project ?

It’s a self-developing process, where one thing leads to another. I don’t have a conceptual plan. I have an experimental, playful way of coming to an image. If the image is visually exciting, I go with it. Each series that I make is more or less a set of variations on one image.


6. What is the proudest moment of your career so far ?

That is hard to answer. I don’t really feel “proud” about individual moments in my career. One thing that comes to mind, I suppose, are the grants and stipends I have been awarded that have allowed me to work in foreign countries.

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7. In your opinion, what role do artists have in today’s society ?

I suppose artists can offer inspiration. But more than that, they can offer alternative perspectives.

" Artists delve deep into questions of perception and how we look at the world. "

8. What can we expect to see from you in the future ? 


Olaf Rauh​
Galerie Richard

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