When Yeats wrote that “love comes in at the eye,” he could have been thinking of the work of Vienna-based Atelier Olschinsky. It doesn’t matter who the client is. It doesn’t matter what the medium is. You walk away from this creative studio’s work with a clear understanding of why we call the visual arts visual. You also realize how art has its own language. A language made up of nothing more than the arrangement of color, line, shape, space, and texture. We marvel at how Shakespeare worked with nothing more than 26 letters. In a similar vein, Atelier Olschinsky creates startling compositions with nothing more than muted color, dynamic, abutted shapes, and clashing lines. With great dexterity they blur the gap between art and design.
The Atelier is the brainchild of Peter Olschinsky and Verena Weiss. They met in 2002 while on a project for a mutual client. On the spot they decided they should work together. What began as an experiment became a groundswell of graphic innovation.
The Atelier specializes in art direction, graphic design, illustration, typography, product design, web sites, animation and photography. Its output includes work for clients as well as Olschinsky’s and Weiss’s own independent projects. It’s not just about technique. Olschinsky and Weiss have managed to pull off the impressive feat of branding their own branding. There’s Cartier, there’s Dior and there’s Atelier Olschinsky.
Olschinsky’s Cities series, for instance, consists of cityscapes shorn of any human element. There’s no focal point for pedestrians or office workers. Each piece offers panoplies of virtuosity. Each bristles with complexity and detail. The series resembles Russian Constructivism on steroids. It’s rife with formal movement. Line and pattern crisscross and overlay. It’s more a Platonic idea of a major metropolis, what sleepy villages dream of becoming when they grow up.
Installation at Tina Miyake Showroom in Dusseldorf, Germany