Not Your Everyday Doll

Marina Bychkova creates dolls that ask questions.

by Amy Adams
State Property | Marina Bychkova 2009
Marina Bychkova made her first doll as a child. As an adult she has created a large body of work. Her designs involve a myriad of techniques ranging from sculpture to painting. Anatomically correct her dolls to some are controversial. Her intricate dolls ask us questions and can push some out of their comfort zones.

“Who has more legal rights in the eyes of the state, an adult woman or her unborn fetus? In a conflict of interest between a mother and her child, whose rights does the state protect, and at whose expense?”

Her dolls are can certainly be conversation starters. In her project State Property, she asks, ‘Who has more legal rights in the eyes of the state, an adult woman or her unborn fetus? In a conflict of interest between a mother and her child, whose rights does the state protect, and at whose expense?’ These thought provoking questions are age old debates that vary from culture to culture.

Definitely Not Barbie

The dolls can take over 500 hours to make, with Bychkova undertaking each step by hand – including sculpting, moulding, casting, painting, fashioning clothing, jewellery making, embroidering, and hair styling. A short documentary from Exhibitionists produced by Mercedes Grundy, filmmaker Lisa Wu takes us inside Bychkova’s studio for an intimate look at her process and the inspiration behind her powerful work. [1]

Her dolls are not all nude, but they all tell stories. There is a wide range of costumed and tattooed dolls.

14 Porcelain and 6 resin dolls on display at Spectrum #SFAL #btroadshow

A post shared by Marina Bychkova (@marinabychkova) on

Seems apropo that she uses porcelain since there is an age old bias for females to be fragile. In her project Surviving, The artist confronts her own fear of breast cancer. A porcelain figure wears prosthetic breasts.

Surviving – Marina Bychkova

The artist writes on her site –

“I can only hope to be as brave as those who have had to face it.”

Shown below is the reality behind the prosthetic breasts.

Surviving | Marina Bychkova 2009

Women are often being directed and advised to have mastectomies even when they are diagnosed with Stage Zero cancer, often referred to as DCIS, which is a controversial subject on its own. Difficult choices are made every day by these women.

What do you think about her dolls? Do they invoke sadness? anger? empathy? Does it bother you that she asks us to take a look at difficult questions? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

You can connect with Marina Bychkova on her website and through her various social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram.


Sources: http://enchanteddolls.com, [1]CBC Arts

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