In his beautiful essay “Building Dwelling Thinking”, Martin Heidegger offers an understanding of the building as something that gathers the parts of an environment into a meaningful whole. In his view, the landscape is not present until the building has given it room. A building is thus not a mere object in space, but rather, what happens when a space is made for a site and its inhabitants.

In Mie Olise’s works, the shipwrecks, abandoned buildings, and bridges have lost their hold on the space they once gathered, and now appear to float in a state of weightlessness. Liberated from the purpose and the meaning that once connected them to their sites, they have begun to withdraw from the present, and recede into oblivion.

The territories of art and literature, as well as popular culture, are strewn densely with ruins and desolate buildings. The houses of Edgar Allan Poe and E.T.A. Hoffman have empty, eye-like windows on the faceless façades. Mysterious creatures move about under the floorboards. They are the haunted homes of das Unheimliche, the uncanny, figuratively the “unhomely”. Like the ruins and vast deserted landscapes of Anselm Kiefer, they remind us of something that we long to forget.

The ruin, however, being a very generous sign, offers not only space for the adjective unheimlich, but also for its opposite, heimlich, which can mean “familiar”, “domestic”, as well as “secret” or “hidden”.

In the works of Caspar David Friedrich, the ruin is a fragment of the beautiful; a slowly-eroding memory of a home lost. His works are essentially nostalgic, mourning the loss of memories. His nostalgia was shared by the archeologists of his time, who wished to uncover the hidden past in order to revive it. In the ruins of antiquity, they searched for a model of utopia, the lost home of civilization.

Mie Olise does not want to erase the traces of memories. Unlike modernist architects, she does not suggest the elimination of “all dead concepts in regard to the house” (Le Corbusier). Nor is she interested in following the traces backward in order to find a lost meaning. Rather, she wants to follow them forward, to explore how the traces can be used to reach new meanings, or alternative ways of dwelling that reconnect the floating buildings to the site.

The connections, however, are provisional. The new meanings do not fully exhaust the possibilities of space. The constructions are bricolages made of memories, found material and objects that happened to be at hand. They have neither a beginning nor an end. Space is thus never finally defined or enclosed, but can continue to happen.

Text: Jens Soneryd

Mie Olise is represented by Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston and by Duve Berlin, Germany.

Personal History

Works in New York and Copenhagen
2010 ISCP, International Studio and Curatorial Programme, New York
2009 Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, ME, US.
2007 MFA (dist.) Central. St. Martins School of Art, London, UK
2001 MA Architecture, Aarhus School of Architecture, DK/The Bartlett, UCL, London

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015 Museo de Arte Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela (scheduled)
2014 Noplacia, Samuel Freeman, Los Angeles (US)
Bikuben, Museum of Contemporary Art, UTAH (US) june 27- dec 20 2014
MUPO (solo), Museo de los pintores oaxaqueños, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2014
Duve, Berlin (G)
2013 Crystal Bites of Dust, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston (US)
Elapsed Intoxications, The Rotary, New York (US)
Philara, Dusseldorf (November), (D)
2012 The silent station, Kunsthallen Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art
Centre (DK) catalogue
2011 Afflicted Fallout, DUVEBerlin, Berlin (D)
Shipsearching, Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles  (US)
2010 A Fugitive Crosses his Tracks – DEPARTURE, Barbara Davis Gallery (US)
2009 The Exquisite Capabilities of The flying Carpet, Skive Ny Kunstmuseum Denmark. Catalogue (DK)
The Dreadful Sound when the Fish went Fishing, Duve Berlin (D)
2008 Penetrating Pores of Construction, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston,TX (US)
2007 Mutated Small Town Limbo, Roskilde Gasworks, Roskilde (DK)
2006 On top of the whole Situation is Mutation, Morsø Kunstforening (DK)

Selected Group Exhibitions

2014 Verge, Munch Gallery
Zona Maco, Mexico City
MUNCH Gallery, summer show
Bikuben, Museum of Contemporary Art, Utah
2013  In Case We Don’t Die, Torrance Art Museum (US)
Zona Art Fair, Toca Galeria, Mexico City.
2012 Copenhagen Art Festival, ILOVIT
Searching, with Arianna Carossa + Bas Jan Ader, Mixed-Greens Gallery, NYC
Lars Olsen Gallery, Cph (DK)
Wanderings, Y-Gallery New York(US)
Habitation, with Vibeke Slyngstad, Marianne Friis Gallery, Cph (DK)
Flowers, Mikael Andersen Gallery, Cph (DK)
Papay Gyro Nights Festival, Bergen, Iceland, Hong Kong.
2011 Painterly Delight, Ystad Museum of Art, (S).  Catalogue
FONLAD Video Arts Festival// Bernardo’s House Caldas da Rainha – Portugal
Joe Davidson – Donald Lipski – Mie Olise New Works Barbara Davis Gallery
Athens Video Art Festival (G), curated by Enrico Tomaselli
Damascus video art festival, curated by Enrico, Tomaselli
BEERS 3 – Drunk VS Stoned, Byens Kro (DK)
Painterly Delight, Ystad Museum of Art, (S). (forthcoming) Catalogue
Magmart, International videofestival (I), shortlisted with the video, Playing Ship
Plentitude, Barbara Davis Gallery, w. Julie Mehretu a.o
2010 Whistable Biennale, curated by Brian Dillon (UK)
Painterly Delight, Silkeborg Bad (DK) catalogue
I Know what you did last summer, Skowhegan Groupshow, Brooklyn, NYC
Beacon and Belle of The Ball, Park Central Hotel, NYC, curated by Jacob Gossett
Elevated, Rottet Studio, Los Angeles, curated by Barbara Davis
Picture Parlor ‘OUT OF THE BLUE’, ISCP; NYC, curated by Helga Christoffersen and Natasha Llorens, catalogue
Painterly Delight, Silkeborg Bad (DK) catalogue
2009 Ovengaden, Institute for Contemporary Art, RYK IND (DK)
HypersurfaceFX, Massa, (I) curated by Michael Stubbs
Art Brussels, DUVE Berlin
Barbara Davis, Houston Texas(US)
Art Brussels, DUVE Berlin
2008 Liverpool Biennale, John Moores 25th, Liverpool Museums Walker Art Centre.
Winter Salon, Temple Bar and Gallery + Studios, Dublin (I)
The Ruins of the Future, Standpoint Gallery, London. curated by Fiona MacDonald, w. Mary Mattingly (UK)
Overkill, WAS, Wonderland Art Space (DK)
ARTfutures, Bloomberg Space, London (UK)
Alexia Goethe Gallery, w. Bernd Behr, curated by Anabelle de Gersigny, London
Art Brussels, DUVE Berlin
Tipping Point, Purdy Hicks Gallery, curated by Sarah Douglas (UK)
2007 4 New Sensations Saatchi Gallery competition for graduates in the UK.
Lost Boys, Rod Barton Invites, London (UK)
The Triangle Project, Istanbul Biennale, Turkey (TUR)
Exit/MA Degree Show at Byam Shaw, London (UK)
Celeste Art prize, Truman Brewery, London, (UK) Finalist
Celeste art prize, Turnmill, Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) Finalist
L`EST, drawings, curated by L`EST, 2007 London (UK)
2006 Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling, yearly juried exhibition (DK)
A-huset. curated by Christian Fogmar (DK)
Diamond DOG, curated by Mikkel Olaf Eskildsen, (DK)
2004 Urban Narratives, KunstRaum KREUTZBERG, curated by Ane Løkken, Berlin
Nikolaj Kirke, Mutations LABORATORIUM, curated by Rasmus Nordquist (DK)
2003 Charlottenborgs Forårsudstilling, yearly juried exhibition (DK)
2001 Transcultural Exchange, curated by Mary Sherman, Boston, USA, 2001 (USA)