Photography exhibition: Men & Dolls
Artist: Benita Marcussen
Exhibition from 10th to 20th June 2015
Opening June 20th 2015 19h
Belgrade Design District, 1 Sprat, lokal 96
In the start of the 90’s, the sculptor Matt McMullen designed a mannequin. His thoughts were to give clothing stores more flexible and attractive mannequins. Within long he got request about making the mannequins anatomic correct. Today – 20 years later – Matt’s company Abyss Creation sell around 400 dolls a year.
Worldwide the doll community is growing fast. At the website www.dollforum.com people who consider buying a doll can share the experience with the 41,000 users who are in the forum today. Internet and sites like doll forum has created a unique community between the doll owners. At the different forums they can speak freely and share pictures of their dolls without being judged. There is also a virtual marketplace where discarded, old and new dolls are sold.
Doll owners buys clothes and makeup for their dolls, but it is only down to 10 % that sees the dolls as actual spouses and moves them around in the house as the day goes by. The men featured care about their dolls and treat them with respect like dear friends. They care for them like material things with a little more presence and personality. Concerns about how society will perceive them and if being public with their lifestyle will destroy the chance to meet a real woman, has filled much in the minds of the men.
Making the silicone dolls takes up to 80 hours. The men choose everything from body, face, colour of eyes and hair. Price range between 6509 – 51143 $. Most doll owners use the dolls as sex toys and erotic fantasies, but some also use them as art and photographic objects.
In General the men are vein on behalf of the dolls, especially when the dolls are photographed it is important that their hair and clothes are perfect.
They enjoy showing their dolls off either at meetings or via the Internet where they upload pictures of established situations.
All men featured have different stories and reasons to be part of the doll community. Some are married and have kids, others are divorced after more than 10 years of marriage. One of the men left his wife shortly before they were supposed to marry. For the men the dolls provides comfort and are there to come home to, someone who will remain by their side, and for years to come.
„ He speaks to it, caresses it, believes
The firm new flesh beneath his fingers yields,
And fears the limbs may darken with a bruise.
He laid her on a couch of purple silk,
Called her his darling, cushioning her head
As if she relished it, on softest down.“
Ovid, Story of Pygmalion, Metamorphoses
Since the Ancient Greek to the present time humans have a tendency to anthropomorphized objects. An early example would be the three-dimensional figure described by Plini the Elder (A D 23-79). In Natural History he recounts the story of a man who becomes so obsessed by Praxiteles statue of Aphrodite of Knidos: “There is a story that a man who had fallen in love with the statue hid in the temple at night and embraced it intimately; a stain bears witness to his lust.”
More literal extension of this story is the myth of Pygmalion in Ovid’s version. Pygmalion makes a statue with which he then falls in love, treats the statue as if it were a living woman. Pygmalion seems to use the statue as a sex doll sleeping with it, handling it roughly enough to fear that if it were alive it would be bruised. He desires the statue to be alive so he prays to Venus to bring it to life. Ancient Greek word for statue is zoon which mean ” living thing” and the myth of Pygmalion and his statue is perhaps the foundation for the Western though for the very idea of men-made, artificial form being ” brought to life” through men’s emotional connection with their non live objects. A doll is a woman shaped thing that may bring comfort to a man, inspire devotion to him and may drive away his loneliness.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Do I think the dolls will replace woman or threaten to replace woman? Absolutely not.” McMullen
sponsor: Vinarija Čoka & Smokvica
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.