Saskia Olde Wolbers

Selected works by Saskia Olde Wolbers

Saskia Olde Wolbers



6 minute loop

Interloper is a fictional story based on the syndrome Pseudoligica Phantastica, where invented experiences are presented as reality.

The video is set within the endless corridors of a hospital with the off-screen narrative told by a supposedly married man who claims he is a surgeon.

He wakes up from a nine-month coma, has a near death experience and floats above his deluded self through the basement bowels of a hospital. He briefly realises that he has become fiction as he sees his character carry out unqualified medical operations. A clue to his state of mind is offered when he realises he grew up in an experimental lab, a secret incubator of young prodigies that was housed in the basement of the hospital.

Referencing computer-generated imagery, the liquid visuals in Interloper are entirely analogue, shot in real-time in model sets. Skeletal objects, architecture and living forms are given a “skin” when dipped in paint and submerged underwater. Materials are animated through this unpredictable confrontation of oil and water and oscillate between representation and abstraction.

This film won Olde Wolbers the prestigious Baloise Prize, Art Basel in 2003 and the Becks Futures Prize, London in 2004.

The electronic soundtrack is by Jem Finer.



When an artist builds a backlog of video works that tell stories, it might occur to the observer that their art is only a handshake and a large cheque away from Hollywood. Mostly the question never arises because artists who make video customarily build into the fabric of their work a marked hostility to everything that makes Hollywood successful. Somewhere along the line, video art set its stall against mainstream movie making as a deliberate and systematic resistance to big business, culture-by-numbers, celebrity and the commodity form; nowadays, however, the innovations of video art are adopted as much for their cultural pedigree as their subversive promise. Saskia Olde Wolbers is a video artist who takes none of the dysfunctional devices of video art for granted. She doesn’t use every trick at her disposal to undermine the stories she tells. Her artworks are therefore a rare hybrid: narrative video that is as intelligent as it is engaging.

Olde Wolbers gathers stories from newspapers, TV documentaries, dinner party conversation and heresay to tell the stories of unhinged individuals who go too far. They are people who live for their dreams, and they live them out no matter how preposterous those dreams might be. In Octet, a young woman tells the story of how she inhaled a potent dose of fertilizer before having sex with her randy husband. She becomes pregnant with eight and is so engrossed with the idea of publicly commemorating the event - in the form of a float in the village procession - that she forgets to consider the advice given to her to abort some of them for the sake of the others.