Paulien Oltheten's photo's, performances, and videos explore what is common and extraordinary about human behavior in public spaces. She goes to parks, plazas and streets of big cities for direct observation, finding unique activity, repetitive gestures,odd objects or design elements there. She then connects these events, creating a narrative formalized in words and still and moving images.


On the edge between fiction and documentary, the artist stages objects found and people met to reveal universal connections between things and human behavior. With an undeniable dose of humor, she imagines improbable relationships between humans, their belongings and their usual public space. It seems as though she wants to question us about the poetic and political links we forge with the world of everyday things. What do the objects that accompany us, our gestures and our daily itineraries say about us?


Paulien Oltheten studied at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, and in 2013 she was a resident artist at ISCP, New York. In 2017 she worked at Cite des Arts in Paris.


Performances include: PAC Milan (2018), Jeu de Paume, Paris (2017), De Buren, Brussels (2016); Fondatione Ratti, Como (2015); KW, Berlin (2015); NCCA Moscow (2015); Helmhaus Zurich (2015); IDFA Documentary film festival Amsterdam (2014); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2014); Vera List Centre New York (2013); De Brakkegrond Amsterdam (2011); SMBA Amsterdam (2007)

Exhibitions include: Les Rencontres de la photographie d'Arles (2018), Where do we go from here, Annet Gelink/Ellen de Bruijne gallery, Amsterdam (2017); The measure of our travelling feet, Marres (2016); Paulien Oltheten & Anouk Kruithof, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2014); Off Walking, MoCP Chicago (2013); Desire Lines, ACCA Melbourne (2013); It's my imagination you know, gallery Fons Welters Amsterdam (2012); Walk on a line…, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2011); Kitbag questions, Dvir Gallery Tel Aviv (2011); de Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2010); Portscapes, Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam (2010); Off the Record, Proposal for Municipal Art Acquisitions, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2009).


Partners in crime:

Advisor: Naro Snackey, Anneke Tonen
Text support: Laura Schuster, Corine van de Broek
Audio: Carlos Dalla-Fiore, Marcus Bruystens
Video questions: Michiel Vaanhold, Joeri Bleumer
Printing & finishing: Andre Beuving, Roy Taylor, Bernard Ruijgrok
Analogue prints: AAP-lab
Framing: Profilex
Book production advisor: Brecht Bleeker, Taco Hidde Bakker
Publishers: nai/010, Lecturis
Collaborations with: Lotte van de Berg, Tijs Goldschmidt, TAAK, SoAP
Regular support by: Mondriaan fund

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