about Maria Johansson

17 04 2007

Porcelain

The Swedish artist Maria Johansson will present pieces of the not only sentimental journey into Barbieland. But these are not the plastic ready-mades of Mattel’s commercial universe – rather their ghostly replicas. Each individual Barbie’s body has been meticulously recast in porcelain from moulds of the limbs, head and torso of the artist’s own childhood Barbie. This ‘original’ is not the synthetic perfection in the packaging, but a relic of childhood inscribed with the scars of the past. The long, blond locks have been irrevocably shorn in the childish belief that they would grow back, the lips disfigured and melted by a close brush with a candle, the hips punctured by pins after a childhood operation. Johansson repeatedly recasts this material remnant of her own past in porcelain and subjects each figure to the vagaries of the fired kiln, where the perfect duplication of mass production is replaced by the interaction of an initially malleable, fluid mass and the mould. Each uniquely flawed fragile figure is then grasped and often shattered by the artist in a complex investigation of concepts of authenticity and duplication  – original and fake – the mass-produced model and its unique replicas.reigen-copie-4.jpg

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