This visually stunning, hilarious and outlandish book of photography presents Danish performance and conceptual artist Soren Dahlgaard's ongoing series of 'Dough Portraits', in which he creates absurdist portraits of people with their heads encased in dough. Invited by art galleries, museums, biennales and institutions from all over the world since 2008 to undertake commissions, he has photographed more than 2,000 sitters of all ages and backgrounds in diverse settings in countries as far afield as Canada, Denmark, Brazil, the Maldives, Kosovo, South Korea and Australia. Collaboration, process and performance are as much elements of the work as the finished image itself, with each participant 'co-creating' their own portrait, first by kneading the dough, then by placing it on their head or having it put in place by others, and then by carefully selecting a pose - all before of an audience of amused or bemused onlookers. As a result, while their faces might be covered, their individual personalities shine through, these sticky lumpen masks revealing as much as they conceal. Humorous and ridiculous as the pictures are, they also carry a darker sense of the uncanny and the sinister.They also allude to the ways we define ourselves and express our own unique identities, as well how we measure the stranger in an age when the covered face is so contested politically and ethically.
In the book, selected portraits from all the main projects in the series are reproduced in full splendour and lavish detail alongside photos and stills of the shoots as they took place. Commentaries by some of those who commissioned the work as well as others who were smothered in dough and then photographed or who merely witnessed the events unfold recount their experiences, and reflect on the various aesthetic, ethical and social issues raised by Dahlgaard's transformation of this everyday and universal material into the stuff of art.