Metamorphosis I, 2017

Hong Kong 2017
Goodman Gallery
Aluminium wire (8 Sections, Assemblage)
Artwork size
242.0 x 192.0 x 134.0 (cm)
95.3 x 75.6 x 52.8 (inch)
Of his intricate and carefully woven insect suits, Oltmann has noted that the slow and painstaking process of creating them acts as a parallel to the processes of metamorphosis and hatching seen in insect life. In a 2014 interview with Cintia Vargas, Oltmann states “My Caterpillar [and Metamorphosis] Suits explore a hybrid crossing-over between insect and human. They look like empty shells that remain behind following larval molting processes. At the time of weaving the suits I was also interested in looking at the elaborate suits worn by the first Europeans who arrived on African shores. A key influence on my caterpillar suits was a Benin carved ivory salt cellar which represents the foreigner in a conquistador-like garment, giving it an air of masculine power and authority. The African carver’s interpretation of the foreign European represents an inversion of the relations of power which characterizes the representations of ‘exotic’ people by colonial artists, and I liked this ironic inversion of the depiction of the exotic ‘other’ where the gaze is reverted back onto the European explorer as something foreign and alien.”