If Barbie were the star of the world's most famous paintings
Since her launch over 50 years ago in 1959, Barbie has accrued over 150 careers under her belt. She can be anything from a nurse to an astronaut (she can even be a dragon slayer!). But thanks to photographer Catherine Théry, Barbie can add something brand new to her resume: Star of the most renowned paintings in the world.
In an exhibition at Teodora Galerie entitled “Pas celles que vous croyez” (essentially “Not the ones you think” in English), Théry has taken the world’s most famous pieces of art and replaced the main subjects with none other than Barbie herself. The reason isn’t to add more experience to Barbie’s CV. In fact, it’s to make a truly amazing and wonderful statement: Transforming classic art, which has traditionally been dominated by men, into a feminist movement.
Barbie has often been criticized for her entirely unrealistic body proportions — after all, if a woman had Barbie’s proportions, she’d be forced to walk on all fours. It’s difficult to picture the epitome of societal beauty constructs as the center of a feminist work of art. However, as Teodora Galerie’s website points out, this is not lost on Théry, who purposely chose the iconic doll for this very reason. “Who better than Barbie, the model for the female ideal, to accept the disguise and play all the roles — masculine and feminine — in the most daring of poses without ever losing her femininity?”
Barbie is featured in works such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Frida Kahlo’s “The Two Fridas,” and Cezanne’s “The Card Players,” to name a few. It’s important to note that the pieces feature very few women of color (nor does it address their lack of representation in art); however, Théry has effectively made us view such iconic pieces of our culture in a totally new way. By interjecting this highly-feminine symbol within primarily masculine works of art, we are reminded just how far back our culture’s gender constructs can be traced and how absent female figures often are.
We totally love this mind-bending experiment. TBH, we think that’s a pretty awesome addition to Barbie’s resume. . . perhaps even better than “dragon slayer.”
Check out the entire exhibition here, along with Théry’s other excellent work — but here are just a few of our faves.
[Images via Catherine Théry]