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Art Watch : Dora Budor

Dora Budor is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

A film-maker obsessed with her medium of story-telling. Dora Budor is committed to exploring, questioning, creating and re-creating the internal and supporting mechanisms of cinematic production. As well as of cinematic consumption. Her sculptures are larger than life, and her films unsettling.

This Croatian artist who lives and works in New York, was born in 1984. Through her intense practice, she investigates new zones of infection between reality and cinematic fictions. Extracting production-made objects from film ecologies, reanimating them, and incorporating them into new transitive systems.

Dora Budor creates sculptures and films that expose the technical and otherwise overlooked elements of movies. And in doing so explores the cultural phenomena surrounding mainstream cinema in America. Budor’s process requires for her to regularly engage with movie props and objects which are inherently fake or flawed, yet appear real and perfect on-screen. In order to “reanimate” them and give them a second life through recontextualization.

“I’m interested in the technical processes behind the visual effects like prosthetics or makeup that are used to simulate bodily sensations … onto the screen,” she has said. As an artist she wishes to lift the veil of illusion that we as viewers need.

Why Dora Budor?

There are numerous series of sculptures that have been developed around discarded movie props with artificial weathering, rust, and dust positions the objects as modern-day fossils. Budor’s compassionate eye views cinema through an anthropological lens. Seeking to explore how people interact with films and the way that fictional characters become part of a collective emotional reality.

There is an element of expose that she wants to explore through her craft. One cannot really confine her to the genre of Arte Povera. But the utilisation of the used and repurposing for a higher meaning is reminiscent of the movement.

Explaining her position Dora says “Today, with CGI, the first sculpting layer is always a pristine surface, and then layers of weathering and dust are added on top. There’s an interesting reference between reality and fiction with this type of aging because in order to believe and connect with the narrative, the cinematic environments have to have a history as well as a present. They need to look as though they have been lived in, or touched by a human/alien hand. But in real life, when something that has aged too much, we have an urge to replace it, or we want to repaint it, iron out the wrinkles. Or treat it with botox.”

A Final Thought

She understands the element of truth well and thinks it an integral part of the craft of film making. And this is what she talks about in her works. Not dissuading CGI but the question of authenticity is raised by her. Dora’s visceral works are a perfect reflection on that Hollywood real vs. fake hybridity. She is interested in practically every aspect of Hollywood. Its materials, ideological aspects and how we react to them, as an audience and have been doing so for decades.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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