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Dora Tass' Olograms at the 54th Venice Biennale  
Enrica Torelli Landini
ISSN 1127-4883     BTA - Telematic Bulletin of Art, 17th November 2011, n. 633

These images, born of a seemingly technical experiment in molecular projection, immediately awakened in me an unexpected sense of the sacred.

If the concept of the apparition - the epiphany - is joined up with the sacred, the holy, the divine, it is not unreasonable to think that, when the eye meets the unexpected visions of the plexiglas plates, you could glimpse (according to your point of view and the position of the source of light), an epiphany, drawing attention away from the work’s technical nature and making the sequence of these virtual objects – the telephone, the tape recorder, the typewriter – a sort of theory of saints or prophets.

The omnipresent circle as well as the circle of light dominating the “thing”, the object, from above add to it an immaterial nature.

If, on one hand, the typewriter keyboard or the reels of the old-fashioned video camera appear as objects vaguely Duchampian, on the other hand, they engage the eye in a game that liberates the mind. Thus, the ‘Duchampian readymades’, given substance by the realm of mystical experience, become a true play on prodigy, the antithesis of readymades.

Moreover, the virtual object is almost always made complete by a concrete object (a real receiver alongside a virtual telephone), making it possible to perceive, in the same place, space and time,  the real and the virtual, technique and mystical experience simultaneously: irreconcilable worlds that do not  create as much dialogue as friction between each other. The absurdity of this “assemblage” of disparate and distant impressions intensifies the faculty of vision. So, the purpose of bringing together these two distinct realities is to obtain a “spark” and -  by depriving us of a system of reference – to make us feel lost.

In this visual experiment, it is as if the artist is seeking collaboration outside herself, in order to move toward to a “new unknown”, giving her study on molecular projection an extraordinary power of suggestion.

The play on darkness (the black supporting board), illuminated by a well-orchestrated source of light, makes the objets look like mysterious apparitions, a shocking series of contradictory images.

If the presentation of the holograms seems to verge on the surreal (or surrealist), this is even more apparent in that “surreality” laboriously brought forth by Georges Bataille in “Documents” through the coarse juxtaposition of his photographs (documents, precisely), exposing the gap between reality and the imaginary, between reality and simulation, thanks to a short circuit, a paradoxical and unexpected network of relationships that has led some critics to declare that the rereading of “Documents” may be seen today as a true key moment in modern thought on images.

This is how the ephemeral, temporary, provisory character of Dora Tass holographic plates inspire reflection, not on the “divine” itself, but rather on a new, free way of thinking about images. In this way, the artist-creator generates works of consciousness, perhaps uncovering the underlying characteristics in these objects that would otherwise go overlooked. Just like the poet when he uses a word in an unconventional way.

The extremely mental, analytical and critical quality of her work also distances it from the “disjointed anatomy” of Bataille’s experiments in images, though, it does create a similar outcome to some extent. 

Dora Tass

Fig. 1
DORA TASS, Biennal of Art, Venice

Dora Tass

Fig. 2
DORA TASS, Biennal of Art, Venice

Dora Tass

Fig. 3
DORA TASS, Biennal of Art, Venice

Dora Tass

Fig. 4
DORA TASS, Biennal of Art, Venice

Dora Tass

Fig. 5
DORA TASS, Biennal of Art, Venice



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