Creepy dolls, interesting exhibition

Curiosity has been defined as ‘ a desire to know, to see or to experience, that motivates exploratory behaviour directed towards the acquisition of new information’. Curiosity is something that we all experience at a moment or another in our lives and we perceive it as something absolutely normal. Curiosity drives us to explore, to learn and ultimately to improve ourselves. However, when a curiosity for morbid, scary, obscure and creepy objects, events, places or experiences arises things start to become more interesting. I remember that, since childhood I was drawn to abandoned places that had an aura of mystery. I used to enjoy late nights in the countryside, in complete darkness, near hills and forests filled with the shrill sounds of wolves howling and intense stories of ghosts, werewolves, witches, mysterious happenings, devil possessions, the evil eye and so on. There was this dual feeling of fear and fascination that fed the desire to gather every night and continue our horror genre storytelling. The attraction for the obscure and gruesome spills into teenagehood and both novels and movies of the horror genre light our imagination .We tremble at the idea of seeing somehting so horrendous that we might freeze, we vibrate and the suspense almost silences us when the soundtrack of horror movies increases our inner tension. Due to my vivid imagination and my most creative nightmares I am not able to watch horror movies any longer. Yet, I am still drawn to dark places where murders or unspeakable acts of horror or strange events happened. Dark tourism with its allura of history and mystery fascinates me. Add to that all the coverage in the media about school shootings, serial killers, abductions, paranormal phenomena, unknown and too well-known acts of violence. I wonder what sparks our curiosity, our morbid curiosity? Is it an attraction or a fascination for the ghastly acts that we see, for the dark side that might be in lockdown inside all of us? Are we captivated by the idea of ‘the other’, the monster that can commit appaling acts? Or are we charmed by the idea that we all have our inner monsters deep down and that something could trigger a fundamental change in us? The unknown, the unexplored, the creepy,  the macabre lurking in the shadows of our souls. Maybe the darkness inside projects itself onto the world and seeks to connect to display its true nature.

Creepy dolls is a topic that provokes me and stimulates my morbid curiosity. The Gremlins, the famous murderous doll Chucky,  the eerie ventriloquist doll from Goosebumps and other maniacal puppets in movies and novels are absolutely delightful and my lure for them will be eternal. I wonder what is it about creepy dolls that makes them so beguiling? Maybe it is the duality between the humaneness of a doll, its kind and cute aesthetics, its playfulness on one side, and the evil look in its eyes, a misshaped smile, faded paint, broken or lost members, on the other side that makes a doll both creepy and alluring. I have had this intense desire to visit and explore ‘La Isla de las Munecas’ near Mexico City for a long time now. It is a sinister island where creepy dolls greet you at each step. Due to circumstances I haven’t made my way there yet, but I stumbled upon the next best thing, a fairly large exhibition of creepy dolls in Shanghai.  I was awestruck when walking through this land of creepiness and I wanted to share it with everyone! Stay curious! Delve deep into your morbid curiosity!

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Yayoi Kusama: All about love speaks forever

As a lover of art, I am still a beginner. I am a person who does not know the latest, the most trendy art currents or the most avantgarde painters, the most creative urban artists or the darkest, most mysterious sculptors. That is because I like to enjoy the art itself and not the name behind it. In exceptional cases, when I am emotionally touched by art, I make an effort to know the person behind the piece.

I always appreciated art and considered it one of the most amazing and worthwhile human endeavours on Earth. When it comes to art I lose every bit of realism I might have and all I want is the realm of pure creativity, dreams, obscene thoughts and provoking feelings. I love art so much that I can always discover parts of myself inside most pieces of art. The hard part is to find the most relevant parts of your being in other people’s art. Art speaks to me, but to be honest, I only remember or try to engrave on my brain the names/ figures that impress me the most. And they are, but a few. 

Last week, I stumbled upon an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama. I knew nothing about her, but after wandering through the exhibition ‘All about love speaks forever’, I wanted to know everything. I discovered a quite well-known Japanese artist, whose art pieces communicated directly to the realms of my dreams and connected to the various life forms of my fantastic kingdoms. 

Who is Yayoi Kusama? She is a 90-year-old contemporary artist, who was born and raised in Matsumoto, Japan. For a period of time she lived in the US and exhibited her pieces of art all over the world. She received various prizes in Japan and the US and played around with distinct forms of art, from sculpture, painting, to film, fashion and poetry. Her name seems to weigh a lot in the contemporary world of art. But fame matters nought to me. I decided to get to know the woman behind the art because my curiosity got the best of me and my interest was stimulated by the vivid colors she used in her paintings and by the intersection of a multitude of art forms in her installations. 

 

Personal Interpretation of her artwork:

1.The colors she used in her paintings and installations remind me of animations and make me feel like I am walking or living inside a dream become reality. The similar face shapes that predominantly appear in the paintings remind me of lucid dreams and somehow of the multiplicity of beings I experience in life, of my alter egos.  

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2. The world of the ocean combined with the terranean world. The strong yellow of sun, the light, the force of life with the deep, strong blue of the sea, the night, the dream. A fantastic cohabitation of terranean creatures with sea creatures and mushrooms. Yayoi Kusama’s paintings made me think of hallucinations at first. I seem to be right since I read that she played around different magic mushrooms and all sorts of drugs to produce her artwork. 

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3. A recurring theme in movies based on fantastic lands and in animations is the land of giant flowers. These colorful, breathtaking plants appear as a piece of heaven on Earth. That is until these giant flowers open up and reveal themselves to be a threat to humanity because they are carnivorous flowers. 

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4. An enormous octopus-like creature extends its dotted tentacles to form a labyrinth of imagination in a yellow world. What if the world was a giant octopus and survival meant meandering and running through the constantly moving tentacles? Sounds like a horror movie created by a Pointillist artist. 

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5. Reflections of lights and self in a never-ending mirror room. The mirror room is a finite space, quite small actually, but creates the illusion of infinity of selves and space. Quite like the inside of a human being. 

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6. The human brain on drugs or the realm of optical illusions or a 90s’ music disco club after unusual mixes of strong alcohol. Reflection of lights and self, mirrors and dots are signature marks of Yayoi Kusama. 

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7. The artist singing a poem composed by herself. It is a performance created and curated by Yayoi Kusama. The stage presence of the artist, strong colors, dots, the orange wig, the playful mixture of song, poem and non-verbal gestures, brings us to a world of fantasy tainted by the recurring sadness of reality (sadness creeps into Kusama’s world through the title: A Manhattan suicide addict)

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8. Reflections characterized by a fisheye effect. The multitude of selves and others, various dimensions of reality exposed in mirror-like dots. Theme: You only see yourself as reflected in the eyes of others and of the environment around you. 

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