9. November – 21. december 2014


Text by Katharina Klang

– for the catalogue for “Dilapidated Constructions” at Philara Art Space in Dusseldor.

Perfection pervades any kind of model. A lack of mistakes can be outlined as a primary item of useful construction. In this understanding a fiction of correctness occurs, while concealing all fractions. In the contrary a conception based on defects could be formed – an Utopia of errors. The works of Mie Olise are these kinds of constructed utopia. In a pictorial, cinematic and sculptural way she concentrates on structures of existence as well as their absence. Thereby she systematically approaches the essence of corruption and the resulting blank spaces, which she conceptualises to create a treasure of possibilities.

Ruinous constructions, shabby interiors and the disappearance of industrial landmarks are pictorial themes of her large scaled images. Levitating, without any relatedness, based on far too fragile stilts, they turn into dilapidated constructions deriding their own statics. Fragments like angular gables and dormer windows underline this conceptual imperfection of conception. By picturing used laths for the ruff constructions. These houses sarcastically contradict the whole idea of architecture. Olise’s houses look like Victorian style appearances. Constructions, which were build too fast during the Industrial Revolution and which therefore forfeit their sustainability.

Rather they are unsupported, inoperable barracks, which ironically refer, by showing a clock, an empty theatre and bulbs, to a bygone festive accumulation of people. Theatre halls, abandoned spaces of opulence with galleries and heavy curtains are not longer visited and are returned to their own staging. Thus, these objects strongly convey a melancholic atmosphere.

Similar to this Olise deals with absence in applying layers of colour. Rapidly the brush draws across the canvas and leaves marks before vanishing. Withal gestures of escapism emerges. In patches colour leaks, drops and filthy mashes up.

This is explicitly demonstrated by a building which provides memories of decayed funfair attractions. Rickety tracks of a rollercoaster divide the void. Large, ‘octopus-like-structures’ are hurling no one. The dialect of celebration – the tristesse of what has been.

Mie Olise also uses this ambivalent moment in her portrayal of ships and in the related film „Playing Ship“. Symbolic objects of movement and transmission become a stranded manifestation of stagnation. In „Playing Ship“ Olise wanders through the Icelandic solitude during a snowstorm, simultaneously accompanied by the made up sound of the shuttered and stacked corpus of a ship. By applying music the volatility of entity becomes apprehensible.

Listening to the sound fading away it clarifies the immateriality of music and the evanescence of the construction is clearly shown. In this process Olise’s designs a composition, which immediately get lost after its creation and can only emerge again in memory.

Mie Olise has an intuition for peripheries and outlines remembrance. During expeditions to the arctic she documented the disappearance of Russian towns. In her cinematic works “Into the Pyramid – Giving back Speaker Sound Ballett“ and “Into the Pyramid – Inhabiting Abandoned Places“ she outlines the peeling of presence. Thereby she lopes along traces and intertwines the shipwrecked relicts into a new subjective history. On the one hand these demographical gaps are extinctions of passing, but simultaneously these non-places develop a new story – where one encounters the existing.

The artist not only shows an interest in storing marks of dilapidated Utopias, the studied architect Mie Olise also designs models of her constructions, which she keeps safe by depicturing them. Consequently she becomes an archivist of her own conceptions.

These hidden cities can only be recognized by their marks of representation on canvas. During this process she unfolds a whole typology of ‘transmission-zones’, which „do not have a special identity or special relation, but loneliness and affinity.“[1] The commonality of Olise’s constructions is based on their volatility. Her installations resemble well-constructed shacks – ‘makeshift habitations’. This refers to the archaic provenance of architecture. By being an essential place of safety, they are becoming spaces of shelter, but also of custody.

Beside their construction they continually refer to the potential of extrinsic intervention, further they refer to their deconstruction, their dissolution. The simultaneous decay and recovery of singular segments, accomomodate a burst of conceptions – any utopia contains its failure.

[1] Auge, Marc: Nicht-Orte, Frankfurt 1994, S.121. „keine besondere Identität und keine besondere Relation, sondern Einsamkeit und Ähnlichkeit“ Quoted by K.K.