POSTED BY admin | November 9th, 2010
It is great to keep up with our artists and to see how their work is being met around the world. One such artist, who worked with the Vancouver Biennale last summer, is Søren Dahlgaard. His Dough Portraits were his first Performance in the open air as well as a North American artistic debut for the Danish artist.
Søren’s works have a specifically spatial and temporal nature. Volunteers sit in front of him, don a fetching shower cap and then have fresh dough smother their faces and ooze down their necks. The result is an innovative take on the traditional self-portrait, in that it is completely spontaneous and the face is made entirely inconspicuous.“I wanted to make something that was new – something that involved the public and was about identity” said the artist.
Identity, is what is most interetingly, redefined. What is also subverted, is our expectations as spectators. Without a gaze from the sitter to return, we scrutinize the dress and body language of the sitter all the more rigourously, making guesses as to the identity of the person that is living and breathing within the dough.
The media of the final product is frozen moment, a photograph, but the media that describes the creative process is an altogether more organic substance. These two media are at opposite ends of the sensory scale. The photograph is interactive on a primary visual level, whilst the sense of sight for the sitter and subject of the finished artwork is completely obfuscated and the sense of touch is heightened – “dough with yeast is actually alive” says Søren, “it’s the only sculpture material, which is alive.” It is interesting to use in different contexts.
The way the performance is documented, has a removed characteristic by nature as the artist does not physically interact with the dough but stays behind the camera lens. For the sitter however, the experience couldn’t be more immediate and involving as the sense of sight is displaced in receipt of the sense of touch, the process self-induced, as Søren explains, “it is important that everybody put it on their own head themselves so they shape and mould the dough themselves.”
In London this month, Søren is entering in to an art collaborative at the Andipa Gallery. The exhibition, Be-Head is running for a month from 18th November. For more information about the exhibition, see http://www.andipamodern.com/
To read an interview with Søren Dahlgaard, see
For more information about the artist, visit his website,