Without obsession, life is nothing. — John Waters
I finally finished The Dollhouse Project (the origins of which I detailed in earlier posts here and here), but for some reason have not, until now, shared the photos of the completed project, which I exhibited in 2012 at the Tusinski Gallery in Rockport.
I furnished the dollhouse as though its interiors had seen several phases, just as interiors do in real life, devolving or evolving with our rising or falling fortunes, suffering from neglect, bad taste or even an excess of good taste. The decor of the dollhouse is part homage to the famous style of the 2oth-century decorator Dorothy Draper, and part homage to the television show Hoarders, in which generally decent, intelligent people show no restraint when it comes to their obsessions.
The story behind the interiors is this: the last occupant of the house was an unemployed, middle-aged aspiring artist who lived alone, moving in to his parents’ house after they died. He left his mother’s Draper-inspired interiors largely intact, except for her sewing room, which he turned into his studio. He was obsessed with the human form as the focus of his painting, especially inanimate versions of the human form, returning for subject matter to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius at Pompeii again and again.
It Really is Done. I Think.
It’s kind of a sad, broken-down little place — my 6-year-old son is irritated by how depressing the interiors are (he’s constantly asking me, very diplomatically, if we can spruce it up). But to me, its imperfections make it seem more real. I find myself staring at it and thinking about the imaginary occupant as though he really did exist. That’s because somewhere, at some point, someone just like him lived a life just like the one depicted in this house. A frustrated artist, finding a sort of satisfaction in a life dedicated to a single pursuit.