Portrait Paintings

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Images: Marita in Tallinn, 2012. Katarzyna & Michalowska in Poland, 2011 followed by Lee in Parnu in 2012, Ruby and Gim in Beijing, 2009 and Disa in Iceland, 2009. Ellie in New York, 2010 & Halldor in Iceland, 2009, finishing with Camila in Brazil & Søren Dahlgaard as The Dough Warrior after the painting session at ECCO Art Centre in Brasilia, 2011.

Søren Dahlgaard has been dealing with new painting techniques with his Dough Warrior character, focusing primarily on some of the main directions in painting, namely: Landscape painting, portrait painting and still life. Instead of repeating ways of applying paint onto a canvas with a paintbrush for the one-millionth time, Søren Dahlgaard takes a step back and questions the nature of painting by asking fundamental questions such as: Why paint in this way? Why use a paintbrush and why a canvas? How can you paint in a different way? These simple questions lead to highly original results where a portrait painting literally is paint on the portrayed person and the landscape painting literally is paint on the landscape itself. These paintings transform into photographs and the process of their making is revealed since they are all created as public performances with an audience watching, and are therefore authentic in that way.

By employing this original painting technique and particular approach to painting – putting the process first, Dahlgaard is teaching us a new grammar of painting that is different to anything we know. These paintings-as-photographs destabilize the conventions of what we usually consider painting resulting in a new genre of painting – one that is funny, ironic and seriously beautiful all at once.

Below, videos showing the painting process of several portrait paintings.


The painting process in Poland 2011. Søren Dahlgaard dressed as The Dough Warrior creates portrait paintings at live performances.


Portrait paintings Beijing & Brazil.


Painting Marita red monochrome in Tallinn, 2012.