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Artist statement: Fandomania - Characters & Costume Play
Exploring identity through portraiture is at the forefront of my work, with the blurred lines between fantasy and reality a continuing theme. In my most recent series, Fandomania: Characters & CosPlay, I examine the pop-cultural phenomenon of “CosPlay.” CosPlayers dress up in costumes and live partly as characters from video games, animated films, and Japanese graphic novels. This exploding subculture, adapted from the Japanese otaku (roughly translated as “geek”) craze, flourishes every day of the year at convention centers, college campuses, private clubs, and in homes across the world.
Japanese manga (comic book) characters, emulated mostly by girls, have heightened the demand for more elaborate narrative constructs, fantasy and adventure experiences. The theater of CosPlay has no boundaries, is unpredictable, open-ended. It includes both the fantastic and the mundane, the sexually abhorrent and innocent, female characters who become samurai warriors and brainy scientists, and male characters who magically change their sex.
This series allows a behind-the-scenes peek at a fan-based phenomenon that has yet to manifest its full impact on youth culture. By maintaining the focus on the individuals and the characters they have chosen to emulate, I allow each individual a personal spotlight in which to enact their fantasy. My hope is that the viewer can imagine cutting and pasting each figure into a fantastical landscape drawn from video games or manga; each existing equally comfortably on-screen as in real life.
Elena Dorfman (May 2007)
1987 University of Vienna, Austria
1984-1988, Sarah Lawrence College, (BA)
2007 Fandomania, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Innaugural Exhibition, 21C Museum, Louisville, KY
2006 Still Lovers, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
2006 Still Lovers, Martha Schneider Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006 O, You Beautiful Doll, Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, NY
2005 New Art, New York: Reflections on the Human Condition, Trierenberg AG, Austria (Group Exhibition)
2005 Still Lovers, Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Ireland
2005 Guys and Dolls, The Royal Pavilion, Libraries and Museums, Brighton & Hove, Brighton, England
2005 Still Lovers, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, NY
2004 Recent Acquisitions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
2004 AC, New York Arts Magazine Gallery, New York, NY
2003 Valley of the Dolls: Works by Hans Bellmer, Elena Dorfman & David Leventhal, Modernism Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2003 Exploring Intimacy, Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
2007 Fandomania: Characters & Cosplay, Aperture, New York, NY
2005 Still Lovers, text by Elisabeth Alexandre, Channel Photographics, New York, NY
2005 Des Poupees et des hommes, text by Elisabeth Alexandre, La Musardine, Paris, France