Sunday, December 16

Doll Photo Shoot - Hanna

I've done another set of doll photos! Along with sharing these, I thought I might mention how I got inspired to begin working with dolls as an art form. As I mentioned earlier, it was a childhood hobby. But it had settled in with all those almost gone memories until I came across the work of the surrealist artist Hans Bellmer. He created life size dolls out of wood and plaster and photographed them in all sorts of creepy and beautiful ways. His work is certainly dark, but it hooked me. Each time I look at the photographs I am still drawn in like a moth to flame.

Bellmer was working on his dolls in 1930s Nazi Germany. Wikipedia states that his dolls were intended "to oppose the fascism of the Nazi Party declaring that he would make no work that would support the German State. Represented by mutated forms and unconventional poses, his dolls were directed specifically at the cult of the perfect body then prominent in Germany."

But as with most statements on Wikipedia, this must be taken with a grain of salt I think. There seems to be a good amount of literature out there which points to Bellmer's Lolita-esque/Freudian sexual frustrations as the source of his inspiration. Even Wikipedia mentions the three events which apparently served as catalysts for his first doll. These three events were "meeting a beautiful teenage cousin in 1932 - and perhaps other unattainable beauties; attending a performance of Jacques Offenbach's 'Tales of Hoffman', (in which a man falls tragically in love with an automaton); and receiving a box of his old toys. "

Here are a couple links if you're interested in learning more:

Essay by Sue Taylor, and art historian from the University of Chicago

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