Exhibition, Museum of New Art Troy/Detroit, USA, until 15 February 2015.
Erwin Olaf is one of the world’s most sought-after photographers. His impeccably orchestrated sets achieve a level of aesthetic consistency, built as they are from floor to ceiling, creating perfect stages on which to enact moments of awkwardness, shame, or humiliation – the grievous emotions and impulses we might all wish to repress. To that end, his images appear both candid and supremely self-conscious, natural and posed at once; and though they have the clarity and naturalism achieved only by photography, in composition, tone, and gesture they have the mood of a painting. Photography's long-acknowledged power to mirror the face of the world has by no means been abandoned in this exhibition; instead it allows us to step through that mirror.