Erwin Olaf is fascinated by the ritual and tradition of the monarchy, with its pomp, colorful uniforms, and age-old protocol. He believes in the unifying aspect of the formal celebration of parliamentary democracy during Prince’s Day, when the king, the queen, and the attendants of the Golden Coach show off their finest clothes.
As a follow up to his state portrait of the royal family in 2018, Olaf has now, without making value judgments yet using the same eye for perfection, portrayed the people who make the royal ritual possible: the stable master, the coachmen and footmen, and the blockers, who place a chock against the wheels as a “handbrake” when the coach is stopped. In the royal stables next to Noordeinde Palace, the men, a single woman, and the horses posed for Olaf’s photo and video cameras in the grand gala dress they also wear on the third Tuesday of September, when they perform their roles in the royal parade.
This work has been realized with thanks to the Royal Stables Department.
Erwin Olaf (Hilversum, Netherlands 1959) gained an international reputation for stylized and disruptive photography in which themes such as sexuality and gender are depicted in a magical-realistic way. After his provocative early work, his focus shifted to human vulnerability. At present he makes video work in addition to photographs. Olaf was responsible for the state portraits of the royal family in 2018.