Essay for Olle
For as long as I’ve known it, Olle’s art has functioned as a type of cartogram: representing his attempts to analyse, articulate and map his complex and imbricating attitudes towards capitalism, globalization, migration and the ways in which these ideologies and processes impact on art and the structures by which it is supported.
Numbers, equations and codes repetitively pop up in Olle’s ideas, or are physically encrypted into his drawings. His obsession with algorithms seems connected with the fierce push/pull tension that links people’s trust in numbers to their fear of them; a dualistic relationship best articulated by the recent global financial crisis (MONEYGEDDON
) and, in Olle’s work, by the ways in which the bottom line usually relates to folding capitalist consumer culture back in on itself. Lilies rot in cheap, flat beer. ‘Art patrons’ are duped into performing acts of altruism.
Authorship, in and after the era of Re-mix culture, seems to underpin many of these thoughts too, as sampling lends a hand to both Pissy Paw and Olle’s prolific collage habits. Harry Smith-style American folk rubs shoulders with the heaviest, dirtiest bass you’ve ever heard, and a tragic photo-documentary on ‘how to sit down’ moves through a series of morphological transformations until it turns into a surprisingly graceful and balanced mass of wooden palettes, paper shirts and pink Posca pen.
Both acoustic and visual, this collage-based decentralisation of the author and reader frequently manifests itself — as with this Burroughs-inspired bricolage — in a cacophony of voices. Maybe something like the Mieskuoru Huutajat Finnish shouting men’s choir? — given Olle’s Nordic heritage. Each voice is not necessarily struggling to be the loudest or the ‘right’ one, but, rather, they are woven together to form a holistic expression — a poly-subjective tapestry, to borrow Olle’s phrase. Considering the infinite number of microcosms pivoting around different belief systems that coexist on our planet, and the ways in which they have been blindly grouped together under the blanket ideology of a globalised economy, Olle’s art seeks to remedy a dumbing-down or simplification of culture. He does this by upturning the implicit hierarchies and poking a stick in the spokes of a supposedly liberal Australian democracy; by equalising the voices without homogenising them.