Olaf Hajek was born 1965 in Rendsburg, Germany.
He is one of Germany’s most renowned illustrators and has, through countless works, developed his personal and frequently awarded style.
Hajek decomposes the borders between authenticity and thought, South American folklore, mythology, religion, history, and geography. More than anything else his work explores the opposition between imagination and reality in the context of western cultures.
Hajek focuses enthusiastically on wonder, heroic acts, hallucinations, and fairytale motifs. With artistic virtuosity and intellectual calculation he relocates and recombines various captions of reality, planting them within new and exciting mystical connotative frameworks. Disproportional figures are often depicted posed in front of theatrical fore- and backgrounds.
Hajek’s images are generally created by applying acrylic to cardboard, and resemble Cuban advertising posters from the 1960’s on account of the technique with which he creates artificial patina. They retain valuable graphic feel despite their painted appearance.
Olaf Hajek is a painter immersed in a world of surreal fantasy and melancholic beauty. Drawing from diverse references such as 60’s African studio photography, renaissance perspective and the Dutch still lifes of the 1600s his work is underpinned by the colour and texture of folkloric imagery.
Hajek’s most recent body of work is a hypnotic tangle of botanical forms
and colour. Rendered in acrylic on wood panels, Hajek uses distressed and exquisitely fine mark-making to create a rich surface patina. Woven into the fabric of the work the image of the flower is used as a seductive yet contradictory metaphor for fertility, poison, growth and decay.
Much like the Dutch painters of the 16–18th century his work looks at the brevity of life through capturing the vital essence of living forms and the continuing struggle for life where beauty is made more precious because of its transience. Through juxtaposing the human figure with his incandescent kaleidoscope of flora and fauna Hajek looks at humanities fragile relationship with nature and its cycles of birth and death.