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About Oliver Laric

Born: 1981, Innsbruck, Austria (or Istanbul, Turkey; or Shenzhen, China; depending which of the artist's ever-changing CVs one wishes to credit!)

Lives and works in Berlin


University of Applied Arts Vienna

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Oliver Laric

Practice: video, installation

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 You'd expect compelling insights into the nature of image and its web-based distribution from one of the founders of influential online 'artchive' VVORK, and Oliver Laric certainly doesn't disappoint.

From musical cover versions pieced together note by note from YouTube footage of amateur performances - '50 50', or 'Versions of Under The Bridge', 2008 - to '787 Cliparts', a wonderfully subtle, quick-fire compilation of that least subtle illustrational format, clip art, Laric humorously interrogates the constant alteration and redistribution of image in today's online culture.

Rather notoriously, he has even directly facilitated such intervention with his green screen version of Mariah Carey's 'Touch My Body'.

Posted to YouTube, it allowed tech-savvy punters to easily produce their own video palimpsests 'featuring' Ms Carey - most of them swiftly removed by an unamused Warner Music (and in the process, rendering Carey's own, down with the kids YouTube reference in her lyrics rather ironic).

Recently, however, Laric's work has taken a more overtly scholarly turn, specifically probing the long, often surprising, history of iconographic realignment.

His thought-provoking video-lecture 'Versions', (2010) covers subject matter as diverse as major animation studios' near-identical duplication of sequences across movies, to the Reformation and its wholesale vandalism of Catholic artefacts (narrated, appropriately, using a cut-up hybrid of textual sources).

With these later works, too, comes a move towards object production: installations such as 'Hologram/Chippendale' (2011), the starting point for which is the famed furniture-maker's declaration that each of his own designs "... can be improved, both as to Beauty and Enrichment, in the execution of it".

A series of polychromed resin casts of a Reformation-damaged icon from St. Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, accompany and extend the aforementioned 'Versions' video.

Iconoclasm, as Laric has pointed out, simply results in the creation of a new image, and traditional hierarchies of original versus derivation look increasingly flimsy in an age of bootlegs, remixes and incessant duplication.

Perhaps even the art market itself should beware.

Added July 2011

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