“Olaf Hajek is a painter immersed in a world of surreal fantasy and melancholic beauty. Drawing from diverse references such as 60s 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.
[His 2013 WHATIFTHEWORLD exhibition,] Strange Flowers, is a hypnotic tangle of botanical forms and colour. 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 16th – 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 humanity’s fragile relationship with nature and its cycles of birth and death.”1
WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, Strange Flowers, 14 March to 1 June, 2013.