Olaf Breuning


As you felt your way around the dark rook, the silhouettes of a jungle very gradually emerged on the wall. Glowing green eyes, a campfire, and flashlights flickered into view, lending the gathering of man-apes an appearance that was threateningly enigmatic yet, thanks to its evident fakeness, ironic. In Apes (all works 2001), the latest installation by the New York—and Zurich-based Swiss artist Olaf Breuning, the program of light and sound, which ranged from guttural humming tones to belching, was self-activated. Somewhere between primeval vision and spooky carnival ride, recalling the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, the spectacle ensnared its observers, heaved them onto the theatrical stage, and even allowed them to become potential participants. Our gaze soon enough picked out the light machines and the many cables, so it was far from a deceptively real simulation. And yet the funhouse

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