Tuesday, June 11, 2013

VIKTOR & ROLF Dolls at the Royal Ontario Museum

      Dolls are conceptual art objects of strange beauty and desire.
                                                                   (Exhibition Label Viktor&Rolf Dolls at the ROM)

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo I by Ingrid Mida 2013
Ever since I first laid eyes on the Viktor & Rolf dolls in 2008 at the Barbican Gallery in London, their fashionable presence has haunted me. I've studied the exhibition catalogue repeatedly, read and reread Freud's essay on the uncanny, undertaken research on fashion dolls and used them as inspiration for my own creative journeys into the essence of the uncanny as it relates to fashion. For these reasons, I've been counting the days to their arrival in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival.

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo II by Ingrid Mida 2013
On Sunday, June 9, I visited the ROM, expecting line ups out the door.... I was utterly surprised to find the gallery almost devoid of visitors, and the few that wandered in seemed not to know what they were looking at. I overheard several people asking the gallery attendant for information on what was on display.... Quel horreur!

Displayed along a curved runway in the Thorsell Spirit Gallery, just adjacent to the ROM entrance, are 25 dolls, approximately 65 centimetres tall, dressed in hand-crafted scaled down replicas of the runway designs, and styled in matching hair and makeup.

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo III by Ingrid Mida 2013
Another surprise was that photos were allowed; something that had not been permitted at the Barbican. How anyone can resist these small scale versions of Viktor & Rolf creations, I do not understand. Here is fashion as art, at its best. The exhibit is free and accesible to all. There are no barriers to entry and one can lean over and see these exquisite creations at arm's length. I plan to visit again, as many times as my schedule will permit until these magnificent objects of haunting beauty disappear on July 1, 2013.

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM,  Photo IV by Ingrid Mida 2013

Viktor & Rolf Dolls
on display in the Thorsell Spirit Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum
Free as part of the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Until July 1, 2013

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