Desiree Dolron

Mutilated bodies in trance, the bodies of ethereal young girls, immersed bodies: Desiree Dolron’s photographs reveal an approach that is both documentary and artistic, questioning our relationship to the afterlife. Her images lie between two states, between two worlds, and play on the antagonistic notions of life and death, consciousness and subconsciousness, present and past.

She is a Dutch photographer, born in 1963 in Haarlem. From 1991 to 1999, she produced a series of images entitled Exaltation: Images of Religion and Death, for which she travelled the world, photographing the rituals of fanatical Catholics and Hindus. These photographs present the mutilated bodies of individuals in trance, who seem unaware of their pain. Their black and white treatment provides a certain distanciation that somewhat attenuates their violence.

From 1996 to 1998, she produced the Gaze series: portraits of men and young boys under water. These suspended bodies blur the boundary between life and death, immersed in a liquid that resembles either a formalin bath or foetal fluids. In Xteriors (2001-2006), which earned her an international reputation, she was inspired by “painters from the Flemish tradition and the technique of sfumato to create this absence of boundaries between the face and the background”. We see young girls with slender silhouettes and plaited, tied or straightened hair, lacking eyebrows, and appearing in a ghostly manner against a black background.


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