Art

In a Barbie World with Catherine Thery

You have to find things hidden into my work and add the things with your imagination.

Art by Catherine Thery Interview by Citizen Brooklyn
42 x28 Barbinella d'Estr+¬e. clin d'oeil +á l'Ecole de Fontainebleau Photo © Catherine Thery

42 x28 Barbinella d’Estr+¬e. clin d’oeil +á l’Ecole de Fontainebleau
Photo © Catherine Thery

Catherine Thery is exploring a woman’s place in the world and asking questions with the camera. What more glamorous way to do it than with a bunch of Barbie dolls?

Citizen Brooklyn: Why Barbies?
Because Barbies are mythical, and they are also almost miniature women, making it very easy to deliver messages. In this exhibition, “Pas celles que vous croyez”, I have confronted two myths: master pieces of the art history and this mythic doll.

42 x28 Dieu cr+¬a la femme. clin d'oeil +á Michel Ange Photo © Catherine Thery

42 x28 Dieu cr+¬a la femme. clin d’oeil +á Michel Ange
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: Do you use Photoshop to create or enhance any of your images?
Most of my photos feature minimalist sets with natural and artificial light. I only use Photoshop to enhance skin texture, brightness, jewels, make up, etc.

42 x 28 L'homme objet . clin d'oeil +á Rembrandt Photo © Catherine Thery

42 x 28 L’homme objet . clin d’oeil +á Rembrandt
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: A lot of your work is a modern version of a famous work of art. How is your interpretation different than the original?
The Barbies play all the roles, male and female. The clothes are painted directly on the dolls body. In a lot of those photos, I put little messages. For example, “Happy Meal” / La Cène asks about women’s place in the religion. “La liberté assassinée” / La mort de Marat, the Barbie holds a paper covered with murdered women’s names in her left hand, modern and historical, like Anna Politowskaïa or Benazir Buttho. The “Gothic Couple” is a glance at “le mariage pour tous”, a great debate in France.

Dames de coeur. clin d'oeil +á C+¬zanne Photo © Catherine Thery

Dames de coeur. clin d’oeil +á C+¬zanne
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: What are common themes in your work?
Death and revival. For example, here in this exhibition, the masterpieces of the past live again with my photos.

Echange +á coeur ouvert. clin d'oeil +á Frida Kahlo Photo © Catherine Thery

Echange +á coeur ouvert. clin d’oeil +á Frida Kahlo
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: Is there a specific meaning in the way you choose to incorporate the Barbies?
To deliver my message, I always choose the way of glamour and elegance.

Gothic couple . clin d'oeil +á Grant Wood Photo © Catherine Thery

Gothic couple . clin d’oeil +á Grant Wood
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: Can you discuss the feminist motifs and playing with gender roles and sexuality apparent in your work?
My work is not feminist because this fight is a little bit old and not very glamorous; however, there are still outstanding questions. The place of the women in religion, the question of gender roles, as you say; today there is confusion. I’m offering an opinion of good or bad, just asking a question that is current.

Happy Meal. clin d'oeil +á Leonard de Vinci Photo © Catherine Thery

Happy Meal. clin d’oeil +á Leonard de Vinci
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: In “Happy Meal”, they are eating fast food. Is this a reference to consumerism or US culture?
Not really. I chose the hamburgers because they are a modern lunch, with modern food… Kind of the bread of today.

La libert+¬ assassin+¬e. clin d'oeil +á David Photo © Catherine Thery

La libert+¬ assassin+¬e. clin d’oeil +á David
Photo © Catherine Thery

CBK: Why no robes?
Again we return to women’s place in the religion. Making them naked hints at those religions that cover women until they disappear almost completely. Removing the clothes was a sort of liberation of their bodies. I have transposed this in Christianity. You have to find things hidden into my work and add the things with your imagination.

Le pont . clin d'oeil +á E.Munch Photo © Catherine Thery

Le pont . clin d’oeil +á E.Munch
Photo © Catherine Thery

Mon corps m'appartient. clin d'oeil +á Manet Photo © Catherine Thery

Mon corps m’appartient. clin d’oeil +á Manet
Photo © Catherine Thery

On a vol+¬ la pomme d'Adam. clin d'oeil +á Magritte Photo © Catherine Thery

On a vol+¬ la pomme d’Adam. clin d’oeil +á Magritte
Photo © Catherine Thery

Pic nic chic .clin d'oeil +á Manet Photo © Catherine Thery

Pic nic chic .clin d’oeil +á Manet
Photo © Catherine Thery

Comments are closed.