Olaf Breuning (Swiss, b.1970) is a visual artist from Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Breuning always had an interest in art and photography, and he studied photography at Zuercher Hochschule der Kuenste, Zürich, in Switzerland. He graduated with a degree in 1993. After completing his advanced graduate degree in 1996, he started to work as a visual artist. Though he only made a name for himself over the last two decades, he is best known for his impact on Contemporary Art.
While many of his peers focus on photography or video work, Breuning creates installations, sculptures, photographs, films, and other types of art. He often looks to pop culture for inspiration, adding touches of lightness and humor to his work. Sibylle, one of his earliest pieces, shows a woman covered with images of actors, cultural icons, and other artists. Another one of his pieces, Easter Bunnies, shows the sculptures on Easter Island with rabbit ears behind each one. He also created Smoke Bombs, which shows the setup for the photograph that most artists do not capture.
Breuning also works in the video world, creating pieces such as Home 1, which uses two video screens, showing an actor trapped in a hotel room as he tells the story of his life, which Breuning showed on the second screen. The same actor returned for Home 2, which showed the man traveling to different destinations and leaving behind his mark on those worlds. Though his video works gained him fame, Breuning admits that he finds video more difficult than other types of media and will likely focus on his other works in the future. The catalogue Queen Mary and the monographs Home and Ugly further detail his work. The Kunstmuseum Luzern in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Galley Sketch in London, England, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, TX, and Cheim & Read in New York City are among the galleries that have displayed his work. Breuning currently divides his time between New York City and Zurich, Switzerland.