Friday, February 16, 2007

Artist spotlight - Marina Bychkova

I stumbled upon the work of Marina Bychkova in the Winter 2007 issue of Art Doll Quarterly. Her porcelain dolls are - and I don't use words like this lightly - simply exquisite. Even more than the hundreds of hours spent crafting their elaborate bodies, embroidering their costumes with seed beads, and painting and overpainting their delicate features, I appreciate the ethos of her work. She intentionally gives her dolls detailed genitalia, because she feels strongly that the absence of genitals in commercial dolls is a reflection of society's shame about sex and the body in general. In an interview on, Marina says "Most of the dolls, both Fine Art and children’s dolls, though [sic] try to imitate human form, are sterilized through a complete removal of sex organs. It’s as if they need to be cleansed of all their sinful humanity. I find this deliberate denial of the essence of life to be ignorant and appalling. I don’t know why there is so much fear and shame associated with human sexuality. Every Barbie needs to have a vagina. Every Ken needs a penis. I think it’s time the dolls leave the realm of tea parties and innocence and address some important issues." Although her dolls are beautiful to look at, many of them also express underlying darker political or social issues. Astonishingly, Marina is only in her mid-20s. I envy anyone who is that technically skilled and that passionate and clear in their expression, and for someone to have achieved both at such a young age I find marvelous.

I will never create dolls as flawless as this - I just don't work that way - but I aspire to reach a similar melding of beauty with expression of a personal point of view.

Hm. Guess that's what art is, isn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing these dolls and they are exquisite! I generally do not like dolls, but these captured my imagination. You are right when you say they are art.