Léo Dorfner


A Thoroughly Modern Rebellion: Léo Dorfner

original version here

Worlds collide in the work of Léo Dorfner; we see high art, mythology and popular media combine to create an azure-inked cacophony of cultures. Dorfner, a Parisian native, was educated at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and has shown in France, Germany and (just to keep things eclectic) South Korea.

Dorfner's work acts as a crystallization of today. Just as we exist in a society balancing on the thin line between progress and tradition, Dorfner's art brings together the past and present in exciting and, often, humorous ways (it is difficult not to let out an amused exhale at a mickey mouse tattoo on the cheek of Andromaque). There is a quiet rebellion running through his work that manifests itself as a obvious product of the time; the idea that Dorfner chooses to corrupt established forms through graffiti and photo manipulation is impossible to sever from the images created by the instagram-generation. With the introduction of social media (and a consequential deterioration of attention span) satire has shifted from the written form to images; a meme now holds as much weight as the Borowitz report when critiquing current events. Dorfner's art sits on this spectrum of social satire, sliding to opposite poles with every new work.

His creative process also lends itself to be considered thoroughly modern. When asking about his source of inspiration, Dorfner responded: "It depends also of the moment, for example I always have a camera on me, so when I see something interesting, I shoot it. Sometimes I use the photo as a photo, sometimes, I incorporate it in paintings. I also spend a lot of time searching photos on the internet, that feeds my process of creation, and is a part of my painting work, which is made of different layers; made of different kinds of pictures, found on the internet or that I shot or not, realistic or not, logo or just text."

The immediacy of inspiration is a 21st century luxury. At the tap of a few keys we access streams of images and text that we can corrupt and shape to fit any artistic purpose. Dorfner, though heavily infested in the technological aspects of art does, on occasion, turn to his environment for inspiration (being an artist in city of light, it is almost sacrilegious not to consider the Parisian landscape in your work). He writes: "I consider myself as a sponge, I reuse a lot of things I found, and in my drawings on antique prints, you can see many times 'Paris ', or 'PSG' (football team from Paris) or a lot of signs from my home. I was born in Chinatown, and I still work there, so I use very often the logo of Tsingtao, a Chinese beer, that can be seen and drank everywhere. I also look a lot of tattoos for this kind of work, especially vintage. And of course, I see many exhibitions and work from other artists, from classic paintings to minimal sculpture."

Léo Dorfner, as an artist of the technological age, sits comfortably in the chasm of colliding cultures and time. He, and his creative process, is the centre of a graffiti-sprawled Venn diagram that is impossible not to appreciate.

Hannah Brattesani