Baited by beauty, “perfection” and soothing pastels it’s only after some moments the viewer realizes they’re caught in a sugar coated snare. Oleg Dou’s striking subjects are angelic albinos, at once both deeply connected to the audience and at the same time alien. It’s easy to question who is the actual voyeur. Dou is one of contemporary photography’s darlings, yet adamantly states he’s an artist not a photographer. Growing up in Moscow he was immediately immersed in the arts growing up in a creative family. By the age of thirteen he was given an early version of Photoshop. Through experimentation and divine error he fated his signature porcelain sheen.
“I am looking for something bordering between the beautiful and the repulsive, the living and the dead.” The chemistry of allurement & abomination is a theme that carries throughout his work, allowing him to explore questions of individuality, the knife’s edge that is repulsion and the innocence of childhood. “We all play the good guys as kids, but far from all of us grow up to be good upstanding people“. The monster within only lurks skin deep. Each portrait reveals it’s disconcerting barb through it’s subtleties: a pointed fingernail, a tear drop, a seam line, sharpened teeth, or the squint of an eye. Put me in a room with one of these creatures and I can’t help but be scared for my life.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that as a viewer, most of us reach for some kind of connection or recognition. A hint of humanity or emotion. If you let one of these creatures seduce you for too long, you may just find the horror of emptiness.