Published in 2007, a book by artist Paulien Oltheten titled Theory of the Street is a half-scientific, half-humorous study of everyday scenes in public places. In photos, drawings and diagrams she documents movements: the way bunches of keys jangle against belts, how people stroll near flowerbeds. This micro-anthropology takes as its subject the surprising ambiguity of everyday life. Oltheten’s keen eye for picking out and framing details in a way that imbues them with meaning is even more prevalent in her video work. Here she presents to us three elderly Greek men, each of whom stop separately at a specific park bench to do their gymnastic exercises. Written on the bench is the word “Kapitalism.” Although the combination of the graffiti and stiff movements certainly loosens up the laughing muscles, there is a serious statement being made here, about silent protest, indifference and fierce pride. A man and his bench are more than the sum of their parts.
Galerie Fons Welters