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GALLERY 2014

visual communication practice

Barbie World is Beautiful
+
1/10

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

Barbie World is Beautiful is a parodic photographic series in which I transfer the everyday, often stereotyped, life situations into idealized environments of the Barbie world. The title of this work-in-progress conveys in the original, Slovene language (Barbie svet je lep), a much more ironic meaning. One photography shows one evident situation, which can be applied to the festival’s theme that is the problems of dialogues or the lack thereof. To the contemporary individuals it seems that they are in constant dialogue everywhere and with everyone – of course they have their own Facebook profiles, they engage in sports and meditate to relieve tension after a long day at work, they eat healthy, biologically grown food, they follow the latest urban fashion trends and have an opinion about everything – ecology, religion, politics, while remaining politically correct, they ensure their children the best possibilities for development, etc. If they are up to date with everything that is current, there truly is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be satisfied. Perhaps due to a small inconvenience, the true dynamic, which underlines everything else, begins (and ends) with establishing interpersonal relations, so to say, between people. What is actually left of interpersonal relations if we remove the human factor? Dolls stuck in absurd situations, which could only be humorous, if they are not real. In this perspective the representation can easily be mistaken for presence, monologue for dialogue, appearance for image, impoverished relations for professionalism, expressing emotions for the rules of proper behavior, etc. The contemporary individual is in a fictitious dialogue with all social norms, conventions and expectations, written and non-written, which show time and time again their inability to work. For the sake of maintaining different roles that are desired, created or imposed, the individual sacrifices, mainly, the dialogue with itself. The perpetual smile of the Barbie doll, which naively promises that all will be well, if we accept all the difficulties of this world with a smile, just isn’t cap/able of providing a convincing answer.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

Staged photography, in which the final image is a result of a complete scene-construction, before the image is captured (there is no post-production), including the story characters, their placement and lighting.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

Hopefully, it will give the viewers the material and reason to stop and think, maybe laugh, maybe disapprove. But mostly, to make them think and not to overlook the plethora of ideologies that are rooted behind the lovely kitschy package.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

This particular project is a never ending story – there are so many possible combinations, so many different ways in which you can explore diverse human relations. It is a challenge on how to do this with the use of stiff dolls.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I don’t know if it’s good. It is humorous and yet critical and points out to a link between the perpetual smile and an overly serious self-perception. It indicates that the contemporary individual is actually overwhelmed with social conventions in expectations – he is in a fictitious dialogue with everyone. For the purpose of maintaining this dialogue, he loses the dialogue with himself.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

It’s a work-in-progress, but this series is done.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Not to my knowledge.


Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This is a strong photographic project, that I appreciate for both it's technical construction and it's incisive humour and critique. The images are very well composed, lit and photographed, but more importantly, they propose a great subversion of an everyday object and renders visible the incapacity of everyday life to abide to the social norms too often thrown at us in objects presented as harmless.

The strength of this project resides in the decontextualization of very loaded figurines. Putting objects that traditionally portray a very idealized way of life into an everyday context achieves a grotesque image which enables us to stop and both laugh at and seriously question certain aspects of our social interactions. The photographs provide the viewer with an opportunity to take a distance from what is depicted and turn a more critical eye on situations and objects often seen as anodine and raise questions on how the idealization traditionally portrayed affects us.

I however find that the message was sometimes confusing as some scene choices left me unsure whether you were making fun of the dolls, the social situations/prejudices existing towards certain groups or if you were doing both. The ambiguity could be useful, but I do feel a deeper critique could elevate the project. I feel it is important as an artist, to take a position and argue for it. I'm unsure here at times what the argument is, aside from a humorous reflection on contemporaneity and gender.

This aside, the work is very powerful and provides with an opportunity to engage in dialogue with oneself. It allows the viewer to take a look back at both our ways of living and the idealized perception of life and ideological charge that is present in objects often seen as banal.

View other works commented by Kevin Yuen Kit Lo  ››

Other comments

jasnikrasni
3 years, 6 months ago

Dear Kevin, thanks a lot for your stimulating words and constructive observations. The first time I exhibit this series; when I put it on the wall, I bump into the same problem – some of the stories/situations that were so clear to me before (when I was creating it), became a bit confusing, especially if you look at the whole series together. I realized that on some photos I’m trying to say too much and sometimes even different messages all at once. Also photos have different intensities and some stories are more elaborated than others, ex. death of a child or pedophilia are much heavier themes than the fact that also gay couples experience boredom. So, I’m thinking in the future I will work more on script, scenography and dramaturgy between the characters for every story – in that way also the message will be more clear and subtle, not only funny, garish and kitschy. So, thanks again for positive feedback!

Curators comments

This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
Kevin Yuen Kit Lo go to comments ›

Entry details

Title

Barbie World is Beautiful


Headline

Everyday dialogues in a Barbie world.


Concept author(s)

Jasna Jernejšek


Concept author year(s) of birth

1982


Concept author(s) contribution

Everything except lighting.


Country

Slovenia


Other author(s)

Leon Vidmar


Other author(s) year(s) of birth

1981


Other author(s) contribution

The lighting set up.


Competition category

visual communication practice


Competition subcategory

static


Competition field

nonacademic


Competition subfield

artist


Subfield description

I'm a photographer especially interested in staged photography. I presented my work at a few group exhibitions.