Berlin-based Circle Culture Gallery will soon present the new body of work produced by the American artist Olivia Steele. Neon light is one of the trademarks of our generation, and it is not an coincidence that it’s a central motive in much of Steele’s work. Traditionally commercial, as some might refer to it, the neon lights are hereby deployed to provide or outline self-realization and self-exploration, creating a relationship with the environment that they are placed in. The verbal message that these signs transmit is inseparable from that environment, and thus, these elements arrange into dialectical amalgams, creating a language of their own.
What is Faux, and what is Real?
Let’s take a moment to consider the title of the show, Faux Real. The artist seems to be inspired by her observation of the world, which gradually becomes more inclined to mix reality and imagination, and to make the possible and the impossible meet. Under such circumstances, it seems hard to recognize that which is real, as opposed to everything faux. Olivia Steele talks about self-reflection as a possible way to get to know ourselves, and to consequently understand reality. Nonetheless, she speaks of imagination as a key element of our journey toward acceptance and fulfillment. It helps us adapt more easily than we might expect.
Olivia Steele Redefines the Role of Imagination
But besides being a mediator that explains new revelations, our imagination can also be a different kind of partner with our consciousness, and seduce us to believe in things before we see them, to dream, to expect, to anticipate. This way, we are more easily pushed into new challenges, and ready to face the unknown. This often helps us make difficult decisions and walk freely toward a future we believe in, without knowing for certain what might await. The artist outlines these conclusion, noticing that “adaptation is key, as we all confront inconvenient truths and uncover shocking realities of our status quo and the uncertainty of our existence. We think we know, but we have no clue really.”
Neon Glass Installations Documented and Displayed at Circle Culture Gallery
In the end of her statement, related to the exhibition, Olivia Steele expresses her feelings about art, which she sees as a metaphor. It is with this sentiment that we should approach her exhibits as well, or at least it is what the artist expects from her audience and their playful imagination. We are ought to ask ourselves if we truly believe the words written in neon, and if these statements are genuine, symbolic or ironic. The stories are enhanced by various backdrops and surroundings that take part in these mysterious narratives, and their truth will be unveiled by each visitor individually.
Faux Real will be on view from June 24th through Septemer 4th, 2016, at Circle Culture Gallery. If you have a chance, don’t miss the preview – it will be held on June 23rd, from 7 PM.