Dore O.

Schattenporträt Lisa von Tretkow und Julia von Randow, 1987-1999
Courtesy Dore O.

It is reminiscent of shadow theatre’s heyday towards the end of the 18th century: meeting with friends and spontaneous posing in front of the light and the projection screen. At the end of the 20th century, Polaroid cameras – before the epoch of the digital camera – were part of the improvisation, the exciting moment when chemistry caused the image to appear: so this is what our game looked like a few minutes ago, seen through the eye of the camera! A person’s shadow is his concentrated form; being compacted and simplified on the flat surface makes the contours of the body and face stand out more significantly – psychologically. The production of the shadow is the earliest of all projections, the first type of two-dimensional image with a direct relation to its referent. The shadow therefore plays a key role in the work of Dore O., in both films and photographs. The Polaroid is processed directly after it has been taken by scratching the photographic paper, so disclosing the chemical emulsion. It is important to work quickly; planning and control are impossible, so the artist accentuates and interprets. She sets small points of light in the middle of the shadow and thus reacts to the spontaneous game in an equally spontaneous way. Here, everything – psychology, chemistry and optics – is connected directly, in a magical way.

Dore O. (born 1946) lives in Mülheim an der Ruhr.