wed 18/09/2019

Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits | reviews, news & interviews

Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

Our pick of images from the Danish artist's new book

'Curator Majbritt Løland and Family', Randers Art Museum, Randers, Denmark, 2014All photographs © 2015 copyright Søren Dahlgaard

Can a portrait really be a portrait if we can’t see a person’s face? And what if the reason we can’t see their face is that it is covered with a lump of dough? Is it a joke? And if it is a joke, is it on us or them? Or perhaps it is a joke about art itself: doughy masks aside, Dahlgaard’s portraits are in every other way conventional, and dough is not so dissimilar to clay, a venerable material in the history of art.

As ludicrous as the project undoubtedly is, Danish artist Søren Dahlgaard’s photographs are remarkably effective in their interrogation of portraiture, challenging our preconceptions about the relationships between artist, subject and viewer. This selection of images from a book documenting this ongoing project reveals the dough portraits as silly, sensitive, insightful and clever. Above all they are collaborative, relying as they do on the active participation of both artist and sitter.

While Dahlgaard sets up the shot, he explains that: “The subject chooses their own lump of dough, kneads and shapes it as they wish, and then places it on their head. What is striking is that each lump has a different shape and expression.” Falling like hair, echoing the texture of a fur collar, or tracing the contours of a face, the dough both conceals and reveals the person beneath.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge

The subject chooses their own lump of dough, kneads and shapes it as they wish, and then places it on their head

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.