Is it possible to plan human behavior and movement in the urban environment? What do the objects that accompany us, our gestures and our daily routes say about us? Paulien Oltheten asks these questions in her exhibition La Défense, The Venturing Gaze. During direct observations in the public space she captures unique activities, repeating gestures, disorganizing objects and graphic properties of situations, with which she creates scenes bordering fiction and documentary. With witty humor, Paulien Oltheten imagines unlikely relationships between people, their possessions and their daily habitat and creates a narrative that takes form in still and moving images, words and performances. For her work La Défense, The Venturing Gaze, a photo video essay she spent more than half a year in the financial district La Défense in Paris. In this busy and anonymous environment she observed and followed passersby, and with some of her ‘characters’ entered into personal relationships. Simultaneously she comments (on screen) on the scenes and takes the viewer along in her curiosity and fascinations. The result is an absconding effect of the street, her studio and the exhibition space. Non consists of a photo series and an audio transcript, which Paulien Oltheten also created in Paris, in the Olympiades district, and in which graffiti stating ‘non’ (no) thanks to random passersby constantly obtains new meanings.
During the exhibition period, Paulien Oltheten will be present several times to have spontaneous encounters with visitors. She will present pictures and videos she made in Paris as well, but are not on show in the exhibition. She will tell about her observations and anecdotes and tell about her research she is currently doing on archives, where she found something remarkable: an exciting story about urban construction and city planning projects. These encounters will be in the afternoon on March 7, 10, 14, 16 and 31. You can just come by, reservations are not required!
Non is a new book by Paulien Oltheten, made during her stay in Paris. The book consists of a photo series and an audio transcript in which random passers-by give many new meanings to the word ‘non’ (no). In order to print this book in the desired quality she needs financial support. You can pre-order the book, buy a tote bag, single sided printed or you can join the artist for an excursion in Paris.