"Anju is the signature image of the series, because she reflects what I strove for while attempting to illustrate this culture: the viewer can see who the person is despite the obvious signs that she is in another world, space, atmosphere. She is self-assured as the embodiment of her chosen avatar." —Elena Dorfman
Anju, 2005, is part of Elena Dorfman's most recent series, published as Fandomania: Characters & Cosplay (Aperture, 2007). Explorations of identity through portraiture are at the forefront of the artist's work. In this series Dorfman looks at the world of "cosplay" (the merging of "costume" and "play") in which cosplayers dress up in costumes that represent characters from video games, animated films, and Japanese graphic novels. This exploding subculture, adapted from the Japanese "geek" craze, flourishes at convention centers, college dorms, private clubs, and homes across the country, every day of the year. It is a private world that continues to grow. In her previous series Still Lovers, the artist examined the intimate and domestic lives of men and woman who live with life-sized silicone sex dolls.
Elena Dorfman was raised in Boston and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in the Village Voice, International Herald Tribune, Art and Auction, and Artweek. Her series Still Lovers appeared in museum and gallery exhibitions internationally, and is the subject of two monographs. An exhibition of the Fandomania work appeared at the Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, to coincide with the release of the Aperture monograph Fandomania: Characters & Cosplay. The artist lives in New York and San Francisco.