”I want to be a machine”, sounds one of Andy Warhol’s most famous quotes. The pop artist surrendered himself and his art to the endless repetitions of mass culture, and assimilated to the dominating media and consumer culture of his time. Ironically, his silkscreen prints of Marilyn Monroe have become some of the most reproduced works of art ever.
Following a long lasting interest in art historical appropriations and references Olaf Breuning’s solo exhibition Marilyns takes its formal point of departure in Andy Warhol’s iconic portraits. As it is typical for Breuning he is inspired by his near surroundings – in this case an image instantly recognizable to most people.
Whilst Warhol, in his break with painting, utilized the copy’s repetitions by means of the silkscreen technique, Olaf Breuning refers to the painterly tradition by providing his Marilyns with naked and black painted bodies. Dressed in apparent and coarse brush strokes the women stare back at the viewer, and Breuning does not only appropriate Marilyn’s portrait, but puts her into dialogue with the nudes of the western art historical tradition.
As regards to content Olaf Breuning’s artistic project generally reflects the shallowness of modern western culture, but always with an underlying self-irony and acknowledgment of being part of the society that surrounds him. ”If you can’t beat it – join it”, seems to be the slogan of Warhol and Breuning alike, added a fundamental hope of exposing the smugness and hypocrisy of modern society from within.
Olaf Breuning is also part of the group exhibition Make yourself at home on display at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. The exhibition takes place from 04.09. to 21.11.2010. For this show Breuning has created a new sculpture. Additionally his massive sculptures from the series Humans as well as the film Home 2 will be presented in the exhibition.