Dirk Dzimirsky’s Question
Dirk Dzimirsky is a German artist best known for his hyper realistic drawings depicting human beings in a dark mood, thus revealing the vulnerability and tragedy present in their condition. He utilizes the interplay of light and shadow combined with extreme detail to create a melancholy mood in his images. In translating photographs into drawings, he wishes to go beyond merely recreating a single instant in time and instead create a photographic snapshot representing the culmination of his life experiences with others, succinctly encapsulated in the subject’s gaze.
The subject of the image is a young woman whose intense stare pierces deeply into the viewer’s conscience. A complex array of emotions is written into the woman’s expression – despair, disillusionment, anger – but most of all, she gazes at the viewer with intense scrutiny, as though she is trying to see the viewer’s very soul. The rain tricking down her face and the damp hair plastered to her skin highlight a sense of hopelessness and being stranded in a hostile world, marking the subject as a wanderer without a home to shelter her from the pouring rain. The close proximity of the camera to the subject’s face creates an uncomfortably intimate atmosphere, leaving the viewer unable to hide from the woman’s unwavering gaze. Her eyes, expectant, demand an answer.
A glance into the image offers the viewer a moment of self-reflection rarely found in modern society amongst the ever present distraction of technology and consumerism. The question being asked by the subject varies for every viewer; perhaps it is about their childhood, their future, or who they are today. Whatever the case, the subject’s vulnerability exposes the viewer’s own insecurities and unresolved conflicts. The slight parting of the subject’s lips suggests that she is on the verge of speaking to the viewer – but she is stopped from doing so by a click of the camera, constructing a permanent divide between the image and reality. Is it with anticipation or dread that the viewer is left waiting for a question that will never be spoken? The monotone colors of the image and the sadness in the woman’s eyes create an oppressive atmosphere, perhaps an indication that the latter emotion is more likely to inflict the viewer. Regardless, the unasked question seeks an answer in the viewer’s conscience, just as the subject, drenched in her own sorrows, seeks shelter in the viewer’s eyes.
What is your answer to her question?