The Doll You Love to Undress | Collection Co–selection

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Zbigniew Libera

The Doll You Love to Undress

object; plastic dolls (2) in cardboard boxes; 57x18x25 cm

The Doll You Love to Undress are two dolls that resemble mass-produced toys, packed in cardboard boxes with a transparent front. The difference between these and ordinary dolls is the visible internal organs attached to their naked, cut-up bodies. This work was presented as one of the elements of the Corrective Devices exhibition, presented at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in 1996. Libera perceives dolls as tools of socialization for introducing girls to the behaviours and roles assigned to their gender.

Naked dolls can also relate to other cultural and social contexts for example, Rembrandts famous The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, in which a group of male observers participate in an autopsy. As with Rembrandt, Liberas viewers are curious voyeurs rather than experts carrying out scientific, anatomical research. The title of the work suggests treating women as objects as if they were intended to be observed, to display their sexual characteristics and to play getting undressed. Liberas dolls expose the absurd extension of this, to the point of exposing the inside of their bodies.

Zbigniew Libera is considered the precursor and one of the most outstanding representatives of critical art. He uses various artistic techniques, including film, photography, sculpture, objects, video installations, and performance. Despite the fact he never graduated from any art school, in the mid-1980s he has become a recognizable figure in contemporary art. He is interested in the relationship between bodies and the power systems and tools used to control individuals and examines the mechanisms by which popular media manipulates the meanings of images by popular media. In his work, Libera reveals that our perception of the world is shaped by internalized, very often imperceptible, dominant discourses of the present day. His works are critical, perverse, and surprising.