De Oude Warande is familiar territory for Vincent Olinet (b. Lyon, 1981, lives and works in Paris). This park, the Netherlands’ best kept Baroque woodland park with a star-shaped design of paths, is the perfect setting for Olinet’s dreamlike and seductive sculptural works, which are often monumental in scale. His oversized sculptures of everyday objects such as lipsticks and cakes in shiny candy colours are very appealing. But the deeper meaning behind these works soon becomes clear. The giant cakes have collapsed and become a mess, the lipsticks are smeared and decayed. The sensory experience of these fabulously gleaming objects quickly gives way to a keen awareness of impermanence and disillusion.
For Lustwarande ’08 – Wanderland, he designed a four-poster Rococo-style bed with luxuriously draped pastel curtains. He floated this royal bed among the waterlilies on the park’s pond. A picture from a book of fairy tales. The floating bed was soon taken over by plants and animals and slowly rotted away. This eye-catching artificial addition to nature was impossible for passers-by to miss, and it must have surprised many a walker.
This time, though, the situation is quite different. The work that Olinet has made for Brief Encounters ‘17 has a very limited shelf life. The content, though, is similar, once again evoking associations with the aristocratic grandeur of days gone by. Visitors to Brief Encounters ‘17 witnessed a royal banquet, a display of the most elegant and finest crystalware – made from ice. Olinet had cast wine glasses, cake plates, fruit bowls and flower vases, all in ice, finding inspiration for the shapes in the extremely detailed cut crystal produced by Baccarat in north-east France and by the glass manufacturer Corning, from the US city of the same name.
It was clear that the composition of ice objects, filled with wine, frozen fruits and fresh flowers, would in short time disintegrate into a tangle, which would form a new composition. With the title Nature Morte, therefore, Olinet did not primarily refer to a still life, what the words mean in English and what the work in fact is, but rather to its literal translation, dead nature. Everything passes, certainly dreams made from ice. The audience was mesmerized and nailed to the ground. For over two hours, people continued to look at the installation, which slowly melted in the warm late summer sun.