Deep Inside My DollHouse

Deep Inside My DollHouse
Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 9 Tverskoy Boulevard
October 30th – November 29th

Bart Dorsa


Deep Inside My DollHouse is an exhibition of several new series of Dorsa’s work. These series are shot on metal and glass plates using a photographic process which is over 170 years old.

“Chained, the seer’s in Plato’s allegory stared at shadows cast against the rear wall of a cave that was their prison. Such is the view I have of the shadows of my subconscious. My camera, a cave, is a hollow wooden box with a metal or glass plate installed at it’s posterior. I am chained in this box, staring at this plate, at the shadows and dark images reflected off the bodies and faces which pass in front of my 160 year old piece of glass as I try to capture and display the subliminal. This show is as much a dissection of myself, as it is a dissection of my subjects.”

Bart Dorsa – Moscow 2009

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Bart Dorsa began his career in visual arts as an independent film maker. His directorial debut, Here Lies Lonely and The Invisibles, for which Bart served as an executive producer, received critical acclaim and rave audience reviews. The later won an Audience Award at the German Independence Film festival.
Before the turn of the century, Dorsa took off for the world’s adventure, seeking inspiration for new artistic endeavors. He built health clinics and orphanages in Viet Nam, meditated with Tibetan monks, engaged twin sisters and immersed himself in Iceland’s art scene before arriving in Moscow in 2003. New business prospects introduced Bart to Moscow’s fashion scene and Bart began to capture aspiring models on camera. With this a new project was born, culminating in Dorsa’s first photo exhibition, Fifteen Minute Fashion, in 2007. It was based around the concept that, in Russia, any girl can be a model if they get to have 15 minutes in front of Dorsa’s camera.

Seeking more out of photography than digitally created and altered images, Bart became an apprentice of the art form at its roots. He traveled around Europe and US, learning a photography method that is extremely rare today. Invented in the 1840s, The Wet Plate Process was the second generation of the photographic technology after the Daguerreotype. The process requires the photographer to pour a handprepared chemical emulsion over a metal or glass plate which is then placed into a vat of silver nitrate.
The mixing of silver nitrate with salts that are in the emulsion makes the surface sensitive to light. A wet, sensitive plate, as it is now called, is then placed into the back of the camera and exposed to the light anywhere from three to thirty seconds depending on the chemistry and light conditions. To freeze an image permanently, acid is poured over the wet plate and then fixed in cyanide after the subject has been captured.

While the process of creating a wet plate is extremely delicate, the camera used is in its simplest form: two lenses positioned inside wooden box, with with no shutters or automatic flashes. For each image, the photographer manually adjusts angles of the lenses, covers and uncovers them and times the light exposure. Such a photo shoot can be considered a success if four or five plates are made during a three hour session.

Bart Dorsa debuted his new technique in November of 2008. The show, titled Soul Stealer, was a dark crossover with a classic, 1940’s Hollywood film noir aura to it. Six months later, riding on the popularity of Stealer, Bart was invited to have a show at Moscow’s esteemed photography gallery, Pobeda, as part of the Moscow Biennale of Photography. This exhibit, titled Silver Tongue Devil, displayed images of women, resembling wax figures melting from heat, seemingly afloat in a pitch black gallery.

Deep Inside My Doll House is a new exhibition from the latest series of Dorsa’s work. Given full control of Moscow Museum of Modern Art at Tverskoy 9, Bart has transformed the building into a dark asylum, painting it completely black.

Moscow Museum of Modern Art