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RTR - RUSSIANTEAROOM GALLERY

exhibitions

Oleg Dou

March 12 – May 17, 2014
OLEG DOU “ 8 years. Retrospective ”

For its 39th show, RTR gallery is pleased to present Oleg Dou’s career pathway, an artist followed and supported since his early years by Liza Fetissova of RTR Gallery.

In eight years, Oleg Dou has become one of the rising stars of photography, and now, his work can be found in many private and public collections. For this exhibition, RTR will present 12 emblematic photographs representative of the evolution of his work, as well as 4 porcelain sculptures.

Self-taught artist, Oleg Dou captivated the West in 2007 and was an immediate success with the collectors, the press and the general public. With a very distinguishable aesthetic, Oleg Dou created, a whole new world through the
medium of photography. He experimented as well with other mediums, during two years, such as porcelain and painting.

Lately, he’s been particularly interested in porcelain for its plastic qualities. " I do not want to lock myself into one medium” , - he says, “the contemporary artist is free and I want to touch other materials and understand them. "
Another important step in his progress : the photographs are now related to the ceramics, consequently creating a new palette, an additional layer to his very particular vision. Once again, Oleg Dou invites us to reflect on our connection to images.

Alive or dead?
Genuine or artificial?
A photograph or something else?

Often even the most sophisticated art lovers ask these questions when confronted with the work of Oleg Dou. The basis of each picture is a photograph of a "naked" face without a drop of makeup. It is reality laid bare. This is the
substrate on which the author slowly works his magic, shaping it into something new.
In creating his strange androgynous creatures, of indeterminate sex and age, Oleg is showing us ourselves, our diseased epoch, which is faltering because it lacks a solid foundation. Oleg's foundation is the aesthetic of time, the search for beauty.
In recent decades the world has accumulated an overwhelming mass of images from advertisements, fashion and glossy magazines. All these images of intolerably beautiful people, with their perfectly smooth skin and attractive bodies, have deceived several generations of readers and viewers, but no longer fulfill their purpose as bait for consumers. People of the new generation aren't as fooled by visual manipulations as easily as their predecessors. They know all about Photoshop and plastic surgery. Oleg Dou uses the tools of this time-honored system of manipulation, producing a world populated by beautiful people who have lived inside the system and who, reaching the boundary of the possible, cross to the other side. Their features are formally beautiful, but their eyes and poses convey suffering. They fix us with their gaze, like heroes in propaganda posters. They look deep into our souls with the bovine eyes of an icon. They are a reflection of ourselves, of our deeply hidden fears connected with our never-ending search for outer beauty. We undertake this search but we forget about the most important thing – about inner peace, the ability to perceive genuine beauty, to see the inner essence rather than the outer layer. In one of his first works, "Hear Yourself," he offers a metaphor: A gentle creature is listening to herself with great effort. Her outer ear has been sucked inside her skull by an unknown force, and her marble-white brow is strained. This is how Oleg suggests we look inside ourselves. He succeeds in combining the incongruous – beginning with one thing he arrives at something that is diametrically opposite.

Dou's most recent series, "Another Face," is a carnival of unhappy masks. Each new face is covered with thin strips of paper, as though it were papier mâché, and illustrates the various stages of an illness of the soul. The illness seeps through the paper as thin pencil lines and pink, swollen, spherical blotches. Some of the figures have a terminal illness, others seem to have hope in their eyes, and two of the figures have a death mask fused onto their skin.

The latest series "Mushroom Kingdom", composed of photographs, paintings and porcelain sculptures becomes an important stage for Oleg Dou’s work. The artist immerses himself into childish dreams, nightmares in particular,
where characters can see their own faces and members mutating: arms are growing longer, hands are covered with hair, nails repel and turn into claws, noses become snouts. Some characters can be seen playing strange games with animals.
There is smell and a taste of death, or maybe life after death?
Viewers are very quickly drawn into a dialog with Dou's portraits, which compel viewers to put themselves on the same spatial and temporal continuum as the sitters. And inasmuch as we are looking at ourselves through Oleg's work, our own personal, physical-moral involvement is fascinating, disturbing and sometimes repellent. Ultimately Dou gets his reward. The intolerable beauty of his sick souls awakens a desire in us. A desire to change.

Isn’t Art, after all, also made for that?
 

Oleg DOU, from My 80s series, 2011
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Oleg DOU, We Are Made Of, 2007
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Oleg DOU, Letters, 2007
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Oleg DOU, I Hate Stupid People, 2006
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Oleg DOU, Sergei, 2008
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Oleg DOU, Origami, 2007
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Oleg DOU, Tight, 2007
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Oleg DOU, Hear Myself, 2006
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Oleg DOU, Batman, 2009
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Oleg DOU, Tanya s Tears, 2008
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Oleg DOU, Rabbit, from Cubs series, 2010
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Oleg DOU, Mask2, 2011
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Oleg DOU, MK9, from Mushroom Kingdom series, 2013
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Oleg DOU, from Mushroom Kingdom series, porceain, gold, 2013
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Oleg DOU, MK5, from Mushroom Kingdom series, 2013
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Oleg DOU, MK6, from Mushroom Kingdom series, 2013
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Oleg DOU, from Mushroom Kingdom series, porcelain, 2013
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Oleg DOU, MK7, from Mushroom Kingdom series, 2013
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Oleg DOU, MK4, from Mushroom Kingdom series, 2013
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