Oliver van den Berg lets his eyes roam across his studio. The high back room is illuminated by cold, white neon-lighting which refracts on the sharp edges of the industrial racks and makes the dark matt stone floor shine. Spread out across the shelves lies the past and future of his oeuvre: work-piece components, fragments of older pieces and hollow bodies of future projects. Photographic works are lying on long tables, waiting to take their place on the wall. And as Van den Berg walks around the rooms, he reaches into various corners and recesses, pulling out ever new items. They are the loose ends in a search for the unexpected, the remarkable, the mundane… But Oliver van den Berg is happily undecided, and so – for his exhibition – he pulls at all those threads that have been waiting for him for quite some time…
Oliver van den Berg consciously refuses to face a central question. The works that have arisen here cover a wide range of themes. It is the quality of the details that excites him most. Furthermore, their materiality differs from one work to the next. In his exhibition, photographic works, videos, sculptures, objects and installations are united under the title “So oder anders // One way or another”. Between these diverse works there are connections – as well as hard breaks.
With his installation of a rotating dough-hook hanging from the ceiling, Oliver van den Berg reaches out to almost metaphysical levels. The sonorous humming of the motor fills the room, irritating yet relaxing in an unsettling manner. His work is accompanied by a video in which the kneading arms above a bowl unceasingly mix a large mass of dough. Astounding, too, is the duality of his works composed of world maps. Crumpled up and steeped in fixative, the once flat maps now imitate a round world that is again being forced by human hand into a similar form. The arbitrary folds and creases create new neighborhoods: here, Brazil borders on the Sudan. Destruction and reconstruction go – contrary to custom – hand in hand. The beholder may well feel helpless standing in front of Oliver van den Berg’s drying rack, because he has simply omitted a minor detail. His photo work Silo Landscape is only one expression of constant observation and searching in public space. A repeated glance at arrangements of vases penetrates the private sphere and plays with the formalities of the forms. Legible relationships between some of the photographic works are broken by contrasts.
And even when Oliver van den Berg chose to work on the loose ends, overlaps nevertheless remain. Typologies, absurdities, atmospheric images, seriality in both directions and the absence of those present are the parameters behind this search. But it is precisely the absence of producers and originators of his observations that draws all the loose threads together again.