VIDEO: Photoshop Master Oleg Dou at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

A photograph relates to the viewer in a very personal and unique way, and that relationship is often determined by the photographer and his vision of the object. Oleg Dou, a rising star of the Russian and European contemporary photography often treats his subjects as reflections of himself. This latest exhibition, titled “Another Face” at Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum is the subject of our latest interview.

What strikes you first is the duality of the object. It is at once real and alien. It’s as if Gigolo Jane from Steven Spielberg’s “Ai” is looking down from the wall. Her celluloid face devoid of time. We peer into the features trying to distinguish the human from the man-made. We want to see the line between the real and the artificial and Dou, at times hides his lines and, at times draws them right on the surface. The artist’s hand is always present as he guides our attention to an intentional pencil trace, a red dot, or a smudge of colour.

Surfaces become layers: first a line, a circle or a shape, then skin, then eyes and lips…are they real? What’s in her expression? A question, perhaps? A hint of indecision, sadness? Or is it quiet determination? Is she even looking at you? You find yourself moving closer and closer to the image, decreasing the space between the viewer and the object, creating intimacy in an open public space. There is impeccable beauty in his faces, but despite their austere porcelain-like surfaces (a thought he continues with a series of small porcelain sculptures placed in plexi-glass boxes throughout the exhibition floor) they manage to retain a calm and soothing energy.

Oleg Dou’s signature style portrait has been selected by Adobe for the cover of their Photoshop CS6.

Oleg Dou: We are at my personal exhibition at the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow titled  “Another Face”. The exhibition is based my overall attitude towards photography as I’ve always been afraid of being photographed and I have since come to realize that my desire to become a photographer was also a desire to hide on the other side of the camera and as such be much more comfortable with the medium.

As you see, the characters in this series at times resemble clowns, or look like they are undergoing plastic surgery. You see lines that remind you of surgical markings. I should mention that when I was 5, I saw a screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Man Who Laughs”. The main character’s face was badly deformed when he was a child. As a consequence his face was a grimace with lines that ran from the sides of his mouth to his ears. This imagery that I was when I was 5 imbued itself instantly and firmly onto my consciousness, and later these lines began to appear in my childhood drawings – I drew lines all over newspapers. These lines that stretched from the edges of the mouth to the ears also appeared in many of my early series.

Individual works within the series don’t carry a specific meaning, but as an artist I use these images to resolve some of my personal questions, as well as the questions I may have as an artist and of course there are issues of form and plasticity in every work. It would be dishonest to say that fish scales, or paper, cut into squares are chosen to create distinct meaning. Nonetheless, I try and keep the creative process interesting and consequently every image turns out unique and individual.

Русская Версия:

Олег Доу: Мы находимся в Мультимедия Арт Музее в Москве на моей персональной выставке, которая называется “Another Face”. Вообще, все мое творчество связано с моим собственным отношением к фотографии – я в детстве очень боялся фотографироваться, и в какой-то момент, я так уже сейчас понимаю, что мое желание стать фотографом  это было и ещё желанием спрятаться с другой стороны камеры и чувствовать себя гораздо более комфортно.

Вы можете заметить на этих работах, что персонажи похожи на клоунов, и то ли над ними совершается какая-то пластическая операция…вы можете увидеть подобие каких-то хирургических линий. Вообще надо сказать, что в 5 лет я посмотрел экранизацию романа Виктора Гюго “Человек, Который Смеется”, и там был персонаж, которого изуродовали в детстве. В итоге у него на лице была гримасса в виде шрамов, идущих ото рта к ушам. Этот образ, который я видел в 5 лет засел в моей голове, и позже эти линии появились в моих детских рисунках – я расскрашивал так газеты, и во многих моих ранних работах тоже есть вот эти линии, идущие ото рта к ушам.

Если говорить об отдельных работах, по отдельности они не несут какой-то конкретной мысли и естественно, я как художник, решаю и какие-то свои внутренние проблемы, и какие-то свои проблемы как художник, и есть также, условно говоря, проблемы формы и пластики работ. Я не могу сказать, что чешуя или бумага, нарезанная квадратиками, она что-то означает разное. Это будет просто не честно. Но, естественно, я стараюсь делать процесс создания работ интересным для себя и соответственно, они получаются несколько разными.

“Oleg Dou is an internationally acclaimed contemporary Russian photographer with a startling and unique approach to the human face. His models’ expressions float through calm, melancholy, indifference and curiosity. The latest works chosen for his personal exhibition at the Multimedia Museum in Moscow are the subject of this interview.”

Interview © galleryIntell. Images Courtesy Oleg Dou.  Artwork © Oleg Dou