In The Dollhouse
IN THE DOLLHOUSE (2012) A 10 part sequential narrative takes place within the very pink, adult-sized dollhouse belonging to Barbie and Ken, the idealized American couple and plastic icons of Western Culture. More than any other childhood construct, Barbie represents the concept that beauty is the apex trait, and is necessary to attain power and happiness. Her co-star Ken, who has been trapped in an imposed marriage for over four decades, discovers his authentic self and finally expresses his individuality. Barbie’s fate is grim, as she breaks down and confronts her own value and fleeting relevance. The series is widely exhibited and disseminated, most notably garnering a request from the Musee D’Orsay In Paris, France, to include, “Haircut,” within its 2013 Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera catalogue. In The Dollhouse pieces are also included within the FotoMuseo, Colombia collection.
‘For her second conceptual series of large-format photographic tableaus, Goldstein subverts the storybook storyline of Barbie and her blow-dried boyfriend Ken. Using the sequential narrative form common to comic books, Goldstein places the long-time couple in a custom-manufactured alternative reality of her own design and decoration. A pink on pink playhouse that seems sweetly perfumed for romance. Even the pillows insist on love. But the candy-coloured interiors and playful appeal of the iconic dolls are Goldstein’s Pop Surrealist lure to engage an audience about serious issues. In The Dollhouse is social documentary photography masquerading as a puppet show. The series of 10 panels unfolds a tragicomic tale of the perils of being plastic and the potential for salvation through authenticity. Barbie gets the short end of that stick – in Goldstein’s telling of her story, she endures psychological dysfunction, an emotional breakdown, a really bad haircut and, ultimately, decapitation. Life wasn’t supposed to be this hard for Barbie.’
-Barry Dumka excerpt from Dina Goldstein’s In The Dollhouse and the Perils of Plastic Perfection