Oleg Dou | Artist
Interview: Amarildo Topalis
With numerous solo and group exhibitions to his credit, the young Russian award-winning artist Oleg Dou “is looking for something bordering between the beautiful and the repulsive, living and dead”.
Influenced by his artistic background, Oleg wishes to combine traditional forms and contemporary materials and techniques, based on modern ideas.
His work is represented by galleries in France, Spain, Holland, the USA, Belgium and Russia and it has been published in several international publications.
How did it all start and why don’t you like to be called a photographer?
I was working as a retoucher for a few years when I was 20. I was making designs for the postcards, some advertisings and other things. But working for other people was not enough interesting for me. I realized that I wanted to retouch my own photos, then I started to learn the art of photography and bought my first camera in 2005.
I do not make differences from any medias or kinds of art, however people ask you to determine who you are and what you are doing. Photographers copy moments of reality from their perspective, painters show the world they see or imagine; I take some parts of reality and deform it.
Faces, on your work, appear to be smooth and almost transparent. Does that technique has a deeper meaning to you or is it just something you like to do at this point and may change in the future?
I’m in a very complicated relationship with my body and I still can’t accept the way it is. I feel a kind of fastidiousness to the corporality of some human bodies. My parents are tailors so I saw a lot of fashion magazines in 90s and got inspired by the glance of the models. They looked like unexisting perfect people. Sometimes fashion is real art, but I do not like this area as it is create fake aims for the people. Even models can never look like a retouched photo. I have never liked to be photographed. I didn’t recognize my face and didn’t want to accept that I looked like the person in the photo. I’m still fixed on that kind of problems.
Even though Russia -the place where you come from- has been radically developed in so many areas, it seems that not much has been done for the support for gay rights. Do you find art to be one of those progressive areas that helps people to express themselves more easily?
Russia was closed country for 70 years. We haven’t experienced the same social processes. Now we are opened to business and cultural connections. But It doesn’t come quickly into people’s head. Most of the people are still interested in earning money for their families, not in gay rights. People are not ready. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, I’m an artist and gay myself. I live in Moscow and never experienced any problems, but it is not the same in the small towns. And I do feel some pressure on the LGBT from the government. This all happened in the last few years. I’m reflecting my homosexuality In my new project by replacing women with men.
Art is always one step ahead. I think that it is easier to accept expression.
Some of your artwork is made of porcelain. Knowing the difficulty of this process, I would like to ask whether the completion of each work depends completely on you and, if not, at which point does your work stop and somebody else’s begins?
As for the porcelains, I work along with a few assistants. It all starts in my head and the sketch I draw. During the next steps -model, forms, painting- most of the work is done by other people. However, I’ m always in the center of the process.
Photo Courtesy of Oleg Dou