Opening on Wednesday, for two days only, Take Away Dreams brings together a host of characters in recurrent, everyday situations. They experience and display a range of emotions, which all come back to forms of dreaming.
If we take dreaming as an active, cognitive process of goal-seeking, the series presents people in the heart of this undertaking; whether reminiscing, dreaming for an infinite present or contemplating an immediate future. The beauty of someone’s expression is that it offers a wealth of possibilities without definite answers. In turn, giving rise to the driving force, that is, the viewer’s curiosity about that individual, their life and situation.
In another bold shift, the exhibition takes place at the famous Marathon Kebab House. This takes the artwork of Oliver Malin out of the conventional gallery space, which has no connection to the work, into its real life environment.
Translating the subject onto the traditionally ephemeral ‘canvas’ of a pizza box, something which rarely lasts longer than its contents, the artist comments on the juxtaposition between the short-lived physical elements and the infinite nature of the dream. In doing so, he invites a wider audience curiosity about the present and prompts a greater observation of those we may have previously ignored or overlooked.
Speaking about the work, Malin said, “Traditional wisdom would say this works against the seriousness of the work, but I would retort by saying that it adds to the actual experience as the viewer is physically connected to the subject’s environment by living and breathing within it. Also, you can’t order a pizza or kebab from five feet away in a gallery”.
Take Away Dreams represents a simultaneous departure and continuation from the themes, ideas and approaches of Malin’s series We Are Disposable; which formed the basis of his first solo show in 2011 at Camden Town Unlimited. The earlier work documented everyday experiences in a monotone, detailed manner, on a smaller scale using crushed aluminium cans as his canvas. Take Away Dreams continues the narrative and acts as a story board. It’s a snapshot of contemporary elements in society we all are familiar with; however by now injecting colour, the artist moves towards making the subjects more tangible.
“Regardless of the medium, I’m driven by curiosity about the human condition & experience in different environments”, he said, “The way I present aspects of my findings is through expressive portraiture”. He documents urban street life in Los Angeles via travelling across the extensive bus network.
“My aim, whether holding a camera or picking up a paintbrush, is to examine different environments and the context where I find people simply trying to achieve something in daily life. The recording of these unassuming split seconds allows me to reinterpret people’s emotions later on. Even heightening certain aspects I find worthy of closer attention”, he continued.
“People’s faces and expressions act as a window into how and what they might be feeling in the present moment. I hope to ignite curiosity about all types of people and the life they lead, whilst allowing enough space for one’s own interpretation”.