From Canada. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Galleria Futura presents Canadian artist Nathalie Daoust with her captivating solo exhibition “Korean Dreams” at the Helsinki Photo Festival from July 20th-August 4th 2018.
A graduate of the Cégep du Vieux in Montreal, Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust (b. 1977) launched into public consciousness in 1999 with the surreal series New York Hotel Story. This sequence of photographs investigates the Carlton Arms Hotel’s 54 uniquely decorated rooms. The resultant images establish Daoust as a photographer capable of cutting beneath the surface to expose her subject’s hidden desires. Her images are portals, allowing the viewer to glimpse a world divorced from reality, one that flickers from childlike wonderment to perversion.
Daoust is led by her need to understand the human impulse to construct experiences that allow us to live, at least for a moment, in a fictive world. From female dominatrices at an S&M Love Hotel in Japan in Tokyo Hotel Story to one man’s decision to discard his own identity in favor of another in Impersonating Mao, her work inhabits the liminal space between fiction and truth. Her most conceptually complex project to date, Korean Dreams, explores the meaning of fantasy itself. While in North Korea she experienced the manipulation of reality on a national scale; her photographs capture the layers of forced illusion perpetuated by the North Korean government.
Employing a variety of non-digital means to address her subjects, Daoust’s methods play a crucial role in communicating content. Using specialized darkroom techniques, the process of creating the image itself contributes to her conceptual explorations. She is the recipient of numerous awards, and her work has been extensively showcased and published worldwide. – Samantha Small
Photographer Nathalie Daoust’s newest project, Korean Dreams, is a complex series that probes the unsettling vacuity of North Korea. Piercing its veil with her lens, these images reveal a country that seems to exist outside of time, as a carefully choreographed mirage. Daoust has spent much of her career exploring the chimeric world of fantasy: the hidden desires and urges that compel people to dream, to dress up, to move beyond the bounds of convention and to escape from reality. With Korean Dreams, she is exploring this escapist impulse not as an individual choice, but as a way of life forced upon an entire nation.
Daoust deliberately obscures her photographs during the development stage, as the layers of film are peeled off, the images are stifled until the facts become ‘lost’ in the process and a sense of detachment from reality is revealed. This darkroom method mimics the way information is transferred in North Korea – the photographs, as the North Korea people are both manipulated until the underlying truth is all but a blur. The resultant pictures speak to North Korean society, of missing information and truth concealed. – Samantha Small
Captions Korean Dreams: Exhibition inscriptions
Since my very first experiments in photography I have been fascinated by human behavior and its various realities, by the ever-present human desire of living in a dream world. The aesthetic of my new project continues this visual exploration at the border between dream and reality, yet this time it embraces escapism of a country and the act of loosing oneself within it.
My objective as an artist is to push the boundaries of photography through experimental methods, working with new mediums and discovering new techniques in the darkroom. – Nathalie Daoust