Olga had always been intrigued by intangible matters such as time. She went on to study history and obtained her master’s and then PhD degrees in the Mediaeval and Early Modern history and did research in Renaissance culture.
Training as a historian involves analyzing available data, texts and artifacts to construct a picture, an interpretation, of foregone reality – or rather of its fragments. This makes you feel mentally present in different realities simultaneously and urges you to contemplate on the limits of perception and the role of imagination in our worldview.
This approach inspired the “Portals” series. It is a journey through a labyrinth of imagined realities, space and time dislocations. Entryways to other universes appear in our mind as we invent and invite them. Ultimately, the series is about a travel through the realm of subconscious.
The intense golden light recurs the antique ambrotype aesthetics to suggest a departure from the ordinary and contemporary. At the same time it is inspired by the Orthodox symbolism. In Byzantine tradition golden colour represents light in its metaphysical sense, the light that is invisible to senses, transcends the reality and appears before one’s inner eye through contemplation. It stands for illumination and epiphany.
The “Portals” refer to the symbolism of golden light as representing the filter of contemplation. It marks human self-consciousness with its urge for personal meanings and ability to evoke virtual worlds. The amber filter suggests the inner space where we can meet and confront ourselves.
The series is based on modern-day visual encounters reinvented in a viewer’s mind. It is essential that all scenes are presented as they were seen. No objects were added or removed in post processing, photo manipulation being limited to the antique esthetics.
“Portals” is an ongoing project. The photos were made at various locations across. Europe: in the Netherlands, Belgium (Belgian Ardennes being a particularly inspiring region), France, Austria, Germany and more. Images from the series had been exhibited internationally and received some awards and nominations.
About Olga Rook
Olga Rook is a Russian-born artist based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her artistic approach is grounded in ideas but flavored with poetry. Her fine art photography is about the “mystery” of everyday life – the symbols, meanings and hidden “dimensions” uncovered and constructed through observation and imagination. [Official Website]