Faan Olgers, Netherlands (1947)

Faan Olgers (1947) studied ‘Vrije Grafiek’ at the ‘Kunstnijverheidsschool’ (now Gerrit Rietveld Academie) in Amsterdam. His work has a playful feel to it, but is very complex and layered at the same time. Olgers’ work has a very clear signature: it’s abstract, often symmetrical and is solely comprised of geometric forms.

Olgers calls himself ‘Constructor’ instead of artist, solving difficult self imposed constructive challenges using his own set of rules and regulations. Although many of his works may have a perfectly finished look, Olgers’ real passion lies in the process. Incredibly difficult puzzles that need to be solved before any of these works can exist. Complexity is his main drive, because, as he says, ‘life itself is extraordinary complex’.

In the 1980’s Olgers focusses on handmade woodcut prints. Some of them resemble construction drawings, most are folding patterns of 3D geometric shapes he designed prior. Olgers prints his monochromatic designs, often quite large in size, by hand on pieces of thin Japanese paper. The prints are all unique, often printed in small editions of just 5 or 10. These geometric, minimalistic prints have a very warm feel due to the handmade character, visible wood structure and small imperfections.

In the nineties Olgers starts making wooden objects, based solely upon geometric shapes. One could argue the 3D paper objects he used as blueprints for his earlier (and latter) prints now became artworks themselves. Part of the pieces are to be mounted on the wall while others are free standing objects. Some of the works resemble towers and have a ‘arabic’ architectonic feel, others might feel a bit like tribal masks, Olgers however has never been influenced by any such thing. ‘It’s not supposed to look like anything, it’s exactly what I want to make, it comes from my fantasy, detached from reality’. All of the objects are based upon a multitude of different removable and sometimes exchangeable parts and have a very playful feel to them, especially the brightly painted pastel colored ones. However complex the process and construction, the colorful pieces surely trigger the inner-child.

Faan Olgers’ art doesn’t resemble the work of any other artist, it does however fit in a couple of art historic movements such as constructivism and minimalism. It is worth mentioning that a lot of Olgers’ work, even the older pieces have a very contemporary feel to them.

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