Olivia Malena Vidal (1989) is a Swiss artist living and working in Amsterdam. She graduated from University in Geneva with a Master in Translation in 2015 and then studied Photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her multilayered, interdisciplinary approach encompasses photography, painting, text, performance, video and sound.
She has a particular interest in the ways she can reflect on her own world of images through different media. Images from her past and present, such as family albums’ pictures, magazines, books and newspapers are taken out of their initial context and reused in the present. Some of these do not have a physical form, but belong to memory or the unconscious; they are obsessively searched, printed, and used in a new way. These collections come to constitute her personal archive, which is then torn up, shuffled and pasted, overlaid with paint, combined with other media or discussed through other media. This process of personal reappropriation serves to actualize the images, and turn them into a state of mind. It also allows her to produce new readings of her past, and re-experience it.
Olivia Malena Vidal’s work seeks to articulate this paradox whereby considering the old requires making it new. She does it through the use of photography (the archetypal medium of memory), yet she systematically intervenes on this medium with another manual, gestural medium dependent on her body and mood. The fact that she sources her material from a personal archive aims to place her practice in a liminal space between conservation and creation, between curation and collage, demonstrating that the boundary between these notions is ultimately artificial.
GUP Magazine selected her as one of the 2017 New Dutch Photography Talent. She received the Experimental Film Award from the Amsterdam Film Festival for her short film “The Lady on the bed” (2016), was shortlisted for the Athens Photo Festival and for the Artifact Prize 2018.
Next to her artistic practice, Olivia Malena Vidal works sometimes as a curator. Between 2015 and 2017, she worked as a curator for the 4bid Gallery in Amsterdam.