Artificial Fairies No.11 “My Little Companion”
Watercolor on paper 39 x 59cm (16 x 23 inches) 2023.7.25
Until I made up my mind, the mental age and characteristics of my dolls is always fluid. These immobile toys are unable to construct the expressions, body gestures, outfits and any appearance following their inner world to advertise their personalities to the world.
Unlike how humans alter their apperances based on their taste, social status and temperament, the construction of a doll’s personality has to be shaped following an outside-to-inside order. Brushstrokes painted on the facial features, glass eyes that fit into their eye sockets, wigs, clothing, there are a myriad of combinations that makes each doll unique. The plain frame of a newly casted doll must go through all these steps. Everytime I strived to find the just right appearance of a new doll, it feels like chiseling and carving a giant piece of marble to rescue the true form of beauty sealed within it.
Without the characters and identities I give them, my dolls can’t have their own unique voices, therefore It is also impossible for them to build social connection with each other nor developing any intimate emotional relationships.
Even between the most mature-looking dolls and the tiniest toddler-looking dolls, they don’t judge each other or assume any social roles. In the fictional social connections I imagine between these dolls, there doesn’t exist any bullying or idolatry that happens easily between individuals with a big age difference in real life. Once formed, such social relation between these immobile inorganic objects with fixed ages, is automatically secured with no possibilities of betrayal or derailment.
Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to the narrative potential of such fictional relationships. It has always been a dominating theme of my doll photography work. It did sprout from my strong desire of a pure and idealized emotional connection between people, but the undertone is not simply a distrust or fear of others, but a restless feeling of unease about the the change of my inner world and the way I perceive other people that inevitably comes with the growth of my physical body.
Compared with these two dolls who snuggle up to each other, remain unchanged in a peaceful and quiet corner filled with antiques, the life of a real person who keeps growing and shedding their old identities reminds me of the ship of Theseus. A kid starts growing into an dult from the moment he first realizes that he can’t really have a dear companion who will never seperate with you.