Guest Blog: Barry Mc Hugh on Oliver Laric

The following blog by locally-based artist Barry McHugh touches on important threads in the multi-media practice of artist Oliver Laric, whose film installation is currently showing at The Model (until Sunday, October 1st). Laric’s exploration of the nature of images and objects in digital space reveals the internet as not merely a space of representation, but of direct experience, as the real world is increasingly mediated by screens, and knowledge is replaced by searching. In the spirit of Laric’s practice of on-line collaborative art-making, The Model invites McHugh to write an short essay-blog on Laric.

Art is the act of transformation and Oliver Laric is interested in the modification of icons, or their potential to adapt. There is a Hollywood quality to the catharsis of an icon. His favourite sculpture is a justice in Basel that used to be a virgin with child. Jesus was simply replaced with a scale during reformation iconoclasm and all the spiritual connotations were substituted by a more pragmatic ideology. [1]

“I don’t see any necessity in producing images myself, everything I would need exists it’s just about finding it.”

This action of searching documentation has become an alternative to knowledge, going through Laric’s piece we can see him use footage from movies (such as Akira) and television to construct much of his film, with the soundtrack being an instrumental version of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” [2]

You are left with a piece of film that mirrors the mass consumption of media that the internet allows you to do in this age, and you can see Laric combining High culture and popular culture through this. The film shows images are continually modified to represent something new, the nature of images and objects in digital space reveals the internet as not merely a space of representation. Memes, Lets Plays and blogs, which are all internet based actions of transformation, illustrates that a thing and a thought can be one and the same on the internet. ‘my Web site(VVORK) [3] is not a space of representation but of primary experiences. You are viewing the real thing. And when the work travels to other sites, it is still the real thing’ [4] that has influenced Oliver’s outlook to ownership and authorship he even says.

“I think it is necessary to ignore authorship, to create a space for something that is interesting again.” [5]

This isn’t empty talk either, Laric Created an open data base of footage for the Frieze Festival in 2012 [6] and it is within this you might notice a subtle nod to another artist that seems to have influenced him as an artist. Within this archive is a clip called urinal where he has an up-close shot of a porcelain urinal with fluid hitting it. [7] Marcel Duchamp being one of the first artists to advocate the notion of the artist as transformative thinker with his piece ‘Fountain’ which was literally a urinal turned upside-down.

Laric’s online-based practice the website/blog VVork with Aleksandra Domanovic, Christoph Priglinger, and Georg Schnitzer is an archive of work that he has compared to curating. VVORK depicts artistic production as a networked, collaborative process subject to certain patterns, and it saw potential in iteration. [8]

Throughout all his work a theme of Recursion, repetition, reinterpretation can be seen. It can be seen in his sculptures in Kopienkritik (the name originating from the German translation of a Roman school of sculpture that specialised in copying Greek works) [9] fitting since his sculptures were copies of important sculpture using 3D printers. In this he attempted to raise mechanical reproduction.
Larics work is unique in his approach to both his material and how he presents his work. this creates dynamic atmosphere to his work.

McHugh has a Masters in Social Practice and Creative Design from LIT. His practice encompasses writing, curating and making. He is author of the book A Dyslexic Portrait of a Young Man, which is written in comic format and available at The Model bookshop.

1- Oliver Laric Interview – Incite Online
2- Oliver Laric – Art in America
4- The Real Thing/Interview with Oliver Laric
5- The Real Thing/Interview with Oliver Laric
6- Oliver Laric – Frieze
7- Frieze Stock Footage
8- Archiving vvork
9- Kopienkritik