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In Paulien Oltheten’s third solo exhibition at Galerie Fons Welters\, observation and imagination cross paths. Th e exhibition ‘It’s my imagination\, you know’ is composed of a selection of photographs and videos made during the artist’s travels in Burma\, Israel and Russia over the last few years. In her artist ic practice\, Oltheten makes spontaneous\, and sometimes staged registratio ns of people’s gestures\, postures and their relation to everyday objects i n the street. For instance\, a photo collage shows a young girl on the bus\ , who keeps a paper roll around her finger and holds it to the side of her head. Like a stream of thoughts the “film” of bus tickets unrolls in the ai r. In Oltheten’s ever-growing image archive\, behavioural patterns reveal t hemselves time and again.

Physical peculiarities often attract Oltheten’s attention. But the specif ic contexts where she finds and creates her images\, although unconsciously \, do influence their content. The video that gives the exhibition its titl e\, actually has no image. Watching a black screen\, we overhear and read a conversation between the artist and a passer-by in Burma. Ropes hanging do wn from the balconies\, used for pulling up newspapers\, have triggered the view of a twirling dance of stretched-out arms in the artist’s mind. She i s eager to visualize the idea. However\, the man who lives in a country wit h only 'a little democracy' expresses his doubts about this artistic interv ention. For him the gesture – hands up! – holds a totally different meaning . 'It’s my imagination\, you know' the artist explains herself in vain\, ul timately leaving us to wonder about the image in its potential state. 

Since 2007 Oltheten has perf ormed several versions of her 'Sort of Lecture' in which she interweaves di fferent works in a narrative structure\, layered in form and time. With a c amera in her hand\, she browses through piled up photographs\, zooms in on details\, films paper sheets with text comments and shows moving image\; al l directly projected onto the screen. This structure now forms the starting point for a new display form. In the exhibition\, two short two-channel vi deos are screened in which video\, photographs and texts are combined with the artist’s hands directing the storylines. While preserving the rhythm of a talk\, Oltheten presents one story connecting flowers\, flip-flops and a balcony ('Like Romeo and Juliet') and recalls a desired choreography of pe ople joining together and splitting up at a crossing. These videos pull us right in to the artistic moments of both discovery and "failed" attempts.

Finally\, Paulien Olthete n’s last line of the imageless video reads: 'Thank you. And have a nice day \, but… maybe… maybe I try…' 

[Rosa Juno Streekstra]
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Paulien Oltheten (Nijmegen\, NL\, 1982) studied at the Rijksa kademie\, Amsterdam\, and in 2013 she will be a resident artist at ISCP\, N ew York. Exhibitions include: ‘Walk on a line…’\, Nederlands Fotomuseum\, R otterdam (2011)\; Dvir Gallery\, Tel Aviv (2011)\; ‘de Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs’\, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2010)\; ‘Portscapes’\, Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam (2010)\; ‘Off the Record\, Proposal for Municipal A rt Acquisitions’\, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2009). In 2012 she was award ed the Dutch Doc Award 2012

DTEND:20121027 DTSTAMP:20140831T111009 DTSTART:20120908 GEO:52.3735934;4.8789403 LOCATION:Galerie Fons Welters\,Bloemstraat 140 \nAmsterdam\, 1016 lj SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:It's my imagination\, you know \, Paulien Oltheten UID:229006 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120908T190000 DTSTAMP:20140831T111009 DTSTART:20120908T170000 GEO:52.3735934;4.8789403 LOCATION:Galerie Fons Welters\,Bloemstraat 140 \nAmsterdam\, 1016 lj SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:It's my imagination\, you know \, Paulien Oltheten UID:229007 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR