Oliver Husain | Watermelons

15 November 2018 until January 2019




Oliver Husain’s “Watermelons” consists of a largescale video installation, a video projection and a new series of drawings and marks the artist’s second solo show at Clages. French Exit, an experimental video installation that takes over the entirety of the gallery’s front exhibition space creates an environment that revolves around the viewer rather than excluding him. To make a “French Exit” means to leave a party or gathering without saying goodbye – the video works like a game and sets up a number of rules that then play out during its course.


Animating hollow spaces and alluding to the juxtaposition between two-dimensionality, flatness and weaving Husain addresses the stance of the individual against the mass; the networked dialectics of soft bodies and hard reflections. The revolving door by a glass wall with no other obstructions depicted at the video serves as a three-dimensional object that seems like an animated surface through its reflections. Apart from being a formal element, the door is a loaded location, a stand in for glass architecture and all the associations that come with it. A glass wall as border visually diffusing inside and outside, while keeping space controlled, merges with the projection screen, making wall and screen fold into one.


The choreography dominating Husain’s narration was developed over a long rehearsal period with the three performers. The various ‘visual instructions’ and actual movements or voice actions were created by the participants individually, while the visual instructions were based on the idea of barriers, membranes, soft or hard openings, exclusion, invisible borders and energy fields; like a body weaving through a line of soft massive volumes. In that way French Exit relates to the artist’s second video intervention at the gallery titled Parade and its more outspoken politics and language.


The drawings integrated in Husain’s spatial choreographies continue the same line of thought in a more introspective manner. Soft shapes pressed into silhouette-like outlines suggest dance or movement and these creatures evolving out of color puddles offer sly gestures.


It would be a dream to be able to make costumes out of free flowing watercolors. Wouldn’t it?