Men substituting lost wives with life-size sex dolls dressed up and experienced like the missing partners. Elena Dorfman shows us this slice of simple and quiet everyday life, on the borderline between passionate melancholy and dreadfulness.
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Since graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988, Elena Dorfman has been specializing in documenting extreme circumstances and unusual subjects. In her series, “Still Lovers” she explores the relationship between hyper-realistic silicone sex dolls and their owners. In a recent interview, Elena Dorfman described the evolution of the series: “What began for me as a playful curiosity, how to photograph men having sex with 125 pounds of perfectly formed, synthetic female, rapidly turned into a serious exploration of the emotional ties that exist between men and women and their dolls. This exploration forced me to evaluate my own notions of love and what it means to value an object, a replacement human being, in effect, as real.”
The “Still Lovers” series has appeared in numerous international museum and gallery exhibitions and is the subject of two recent monographs, Still Lovers, (published by Channel Photographics, New York, 2005) and Des Poupees et des hommes, (published by La Musardine. Paris, 2005). The series is also prominently featured in the November 2005 issue of Aperture magazine.
Elena Dorfman’s body of work, “Fandomania,” premiered at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, in the Spring of 2007. This series portrays a growing subculture, which appears primarily at conventions staged throughout the US. Here, the mostly young adult audience, dress elaborately as characters from video games, Japanese Manga, and animated films. Explorations of identity through portraiture are at the forefront of Dorfman’s work, but blurred lines between fantasy and reality are a continuing theme. Elena Dorfman currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.