Valley of the Broken Dolls

GEM (truly outrageous) still beloved by my daughter

Inspired by artistatthexit0′ s latest post about the dolls he has found in the river, made me think about artist’s who use the doll in their work.  Of course Hans Bellmer and Cindy Sherman were the first artists I thought of.  Surrealist photographer Hans Bellmer (b.Germany 1902 – 1950)  used broken doll parts in a fetish like fashion to invoke disturbing ideas.

Bellmer doll

He  first sent these to the  Nazi party as a protest against their obsession with the perfect body.   He posed the dolls in mutilated, unaturalistic ways.  There’s a great article about this artist here.  The film below Le Jeux de la Poupee featuring Bellmer’s work is not for the faint hearted.  This film was made in 1940s, but I don’t know who the music is by.

Cindy Sherman (b.1954 New York USA) uses self photography to address issues about the roles of women in the world, and as artists.  This short film sees Sherman as a cutout doll with cut out clothes.  I think it ‘s such a clever film, making Sherman completely 2D – surreal as she gets to choose the outfits she will wear instead of them being chosen for her!

Here’s an artist who works with dolls and altered book.  Karen Hatzigeorgiou puts her dolls into her books literally!  All her dolls are found objects and she sells the finished work.

assemblage found arm

Bellmer doll from here Cindy Sherman video from “artpopulus and Bellmer video from artpopulus

assemblage with found object

7 thoughts on “Valley of the Broken Dolls

  1. I had not seen the Sherman clip before but it is amazing! Thank you for letting others know about my post! Thanks Lynda!

  2. Very disturbing but insightful, for me. I could never get into dolls. Even when I was a toddler, I’d undress them and look at them. I wonder if I was looking for their souls? I don’t know. Viewing both videos this strong sense of the same feeling washed over me as when I was young. I played a lot with Breyer horses and had a barn and farm house I fashioned out of large cardboard boxes. Perhaps if I could have ever spent more time playing dolls, I’d be more fashion conscious. LOL Once again, a very interesting post, Lynda. Now, off to artistexit0!

    1. My daughter used to have My Little Pony’s and Flower Fairies, progressing to the Gem doll you see above. So inspired by Gem and her band, she got a guitar and was in a band:) When I was younger I wanted to be a fashion designer and was always customising clothes, so maybe the dolls did have an influence! Thanks for commenting Leslie – always appreciated!

  3. Amazing the statements made through the use of doll parts in works of art. The video was insightful too. You’re right, definitely was a clever film. thanks

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