[ If you follow this blog, you will know that I normally present about a dozen samples of work of a single artist.
For this particular artist – OLEG DOU, I am breaking my own rules.
Actually smashing it – by presenting three times the normal folio.
Enjoy these 36 pictures – I know I did – and I kept coming back for just another look – again, and again, and again.]
So, who is Oleg Dou?
Born in 1983 in Moscow and lives and works there.
Oleg Dou’s childhood was heavily influenced by art and creativity as his mother was a painter and his father was a fashion designer. As a child Oleg Dou spent time with the artists who frequented his parents lives and was often inspired by his father’s fashion magazines. At the age of 13, his parents game him his first computer which was set up with an old version of Photoshop. This catalyzed his experiments to transform his schoolfriends or teachers faces.
After studying design, he worked as a web designer. Then in 2005, he bought his first professional camera.
He was discovered a year later in 2006 by Liza Fetissova from Galerie RTR (Russian Tea Room) – Paris.
Oleg Dou confides on the RTR gallery site “…that he was inspired at first by a curious tradition practiced in XIX century : the child funeral portrait. The shooting required a long and fine preparation. The costume in particular was very sophisticated and each detail was fancy, from the position of the hands to the slightest lock. The little fragile body, lifeless, prepared for the hereafter, was immortalized in a still life photograph…”
Oleg also evokes unhappy memories of his childhood when for special occasions and parties, he had to wear a costume. Dressed up as a white rabbit, a costume that his mother made herself with a lot of hard work and patience, the little Oleg felt terrible and bursted into tears when he had to smile at the camera.
“…I couldn’t pretend being happy in front of the camera, I hated being photographed. The image reflected my discomfort and my frustration. It’s still often the case today. I try to recreate the expression of this embarrassment in my portraits, but this time, I provoke it. For the Cubs series, all the costumes were tailored by my mother, based on my sketches. He now takes photos of children and then evolves them into otherworldly creatures. The first thing he does is erase their eyebrows and smooth their skin to erase their individuality. I have always been interested in human individuality and self-expression.
He says “…I have been creating different designs for many years. And I started photography in 2005 to mix it with design.
The “Naked Faces” project is devoted to relationship between human’s inner world with human’s behaviour in society. The society still restricts behaviour and thought of a human being. This project is a kind of a protest that is to show that a person should remain who he is and that people should perceive him in the way he is. The persons presented in my works lack individuality: the eyebrowes and the eyelashes are removed, the skin is smoothed.
I have always been trying to make observers to be not indifferent to my pictures but it does not mean that emotions should only be positive – they can express both alarm, and fear, and tearing away.
Visually I am inspired by culture of fashion and surrealists. I often shock people. I try to create the my personal aesthetics of the works, I try to combine reality with artificiality.
Fram an interview by on MDM Wonderlance : “…
MDM: The subjects of your photography are stripped off their eyebrows and eyelashes, have their skins airbrushed and whiten and even the colour of their eyes has been made similar. Whilst this process seems to lead to the discard of their personalities, all the opposite takes place: Their spirit, their soul and deep emotional world shines through with a strong and unique force. How do you choose to create their digital manipulation or artistic motives? Do their individual expressions inspire you to create each particular deco or theme after they’ve been ‘standardized’, or is that something you have in mind before you start the whole process?
OLEG DOU: I can tell you the story of how my style was born. I didn’t have any definite ideas of what to do when I bought my first camera. I was taking pictures of everything and everybody around me. Once, I decided to do a portrait of one of my friends. She had pale skin, which I’ve always loved. But I wanted her photo to look like out of a fashion magazine so I tried to ‘clean up’ the skin on the photo. I didn’t have any proper skills back then and ‘cleaned it too much’. It had an interesting effect of fragility and symbolism.
So I decided to work in that direction.
In those early years it all used to be always an improvisation. I never knew what I would see at the end of my work. But that has changed; I now always have a clear idea in my head before starting the work.”
Today, Oleg Dou is represented today by galleries in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Russia and United States. His works have also been published in a lot of international reviews.
He is one of the most promising artist of his generation. In 2011, the Artprice company, leader of the information on art value, has graded Oleg Dou in the top 3 of the under 30 years old photographers who sell the best in public auctions. One of his images will make the cover of an extensive “Frozen Dream” – a book on contemporary Russian art published by TransGlobe Publishing and Thames & Hudson.
OLEG DOU’S Contacts
- Oleg Dou’s Website
- Deviantart pages
- RTR (Russian Tea Room) Galleries Paris: Here you will find his various folios – Naked Faces, Cubs, Freaks, Nuns & more…
- MDM Wonderlance
- La Lettre page