Am I looking at this doll or is it looking at me?
The Sisters Popovy masterfully summon the Da Nice Time Kid, Yolandi Visser of Die Antwood, from polymer and porcelain. More Madonna than Matryoshka, this doll exudes an aura of haunting haute. Her handcrafted hair floats around her shoulders, accentuating a near fetishistic attention to form. Do not look away, you risk missing this sculpture drift in signature Popovy ball-jointed style to the next pose. Deconstruction of the traditionally static form of this doll would have been enough to render it a mainstay of modern art. However, it is when one discovers the Sisters have created an enigmatic form in celebration of growth that the true implication of the Movement is realized.
This doll works to subvert traditional form to the very core.What was once an exemplar of what women were told to be has been evolved into a higher form. This doll wields beauty while celebrating imperfection, contrasting porcelain beauty with intentionally imperfect teeth, wielding uniqueness in a capacity in keeping with that of Da Nice Time Kid. No longer is this doll an incarnation of a socially acceptable mold. The Sisters Popovy have taken an item of traditional gender role indoctrination and fashioned a new medium. This doll’s lifelike detail captures a transformative feminine figure from which is at once old and young, hyper-realistic and fully animated, subtle, but breathtaking. There are artists who break the rules and then there are artists who change the game. Both the Sisters Popovy and Visser are the latter. This doll does not shatter when it breaks the mold, it strikes a pose.
In similar form, the Sisters Popovy have expanded their repertoire by bringing the social metamorphosis embodied in their Art Dolls to a flutter of visual artistry in a variety of mediums ranging from fine art photography to video art. Once again, this art is formless, creating molds rather than conforming.
In several new exhibits, the Yolandi Visser Art Doll is taking center stage to expand her influence through additional forms in Fine Art Photography, Video, and Fashion Illustration. These mediums expound upon the previous social commentary through demonstration of the agility of modern feminist form. Not only do these mediums show a new version of a traditional art piece, but they portray this form in a new context. The Video Art featuring the Yolandi Art Doll features voiceover work by the artist herself. She is present in both audio and her second rendering combined through this new porcelain format which recalls high modern fashion.
In the accompanying Fashion Illustration, modern fashion pieces are portrayed on the Yolandi Visser Art Doll. This illustration reveals the same defiant confidence as the Art Doll. In this Fashion Illustration the outfits call to mind sets of high fashion armor. This is an accentuation of the form, not for not a reduction through aesthetic, but rather an empowerment of the woman and celebration of the form. In each piece, the inclusion of wings reemphasizes a rejection of the stationary and stagnant, a reiteration on the ball joint movement of the porcelain doll it is meant to clad.
The Sisters Popovy have created an entirely new taken on the concept of individuality and freedom in this collection. This art is an arming and unfettering of the individual, an emphasis of movement, and a celebration of the unique. Through an emphasis of the evolving nature of the individual they have rejected the static dogmatism
present in modern society. They have defied traditional form and have created the stuff of patriarchic nightmares. More than this, they have defied the unacknowledged caste system in modern society.
Resist, be free, and be warned. This is not your mother’s feminism.
Written by: Liam Greene
JM Art Management