Dolls: 1914, 1939

Dolls: 1914, 1939
Artist: Thaweesak Srithongdee (Lolay) 1970

Form of work: Sculpture
Two statues of female dolls (4.0m height)
Technique: Painted fibreglass

Concept : The dolls have symbolic meaning in that they represent lifelessness: they cannot speak or move by themselves. The only way they can “move” or “speak”, of course, is if they are manipulated by some human-directed mechanism.

Apart from this fact, the form of the dolls is also important. The image that is assigned to a doll is something that is deliberately orchestrated: it is an emotional artifice created in order to manipulate observers’ feelings, and their conceptions of the doll’s imaginary life and meaning.
The toy industry which produces dolls dictates and assigns a doll’s form: it gives psychological meaning to a doll in order to sway consumers to purchase it. Different dolls are deliberately produced for particular purposes and/or for particular markets, for example, for children or for adults.
Humans are living creatures that have totally different properties from dolls. But the value of an individual human life can be reduced to that of a doll when people form a group or mass in large crowds; when they stand in line at school or in an auditorium; or when they choose to follow orders – for example, soldiers or police standing in armed formation.
1914 & 1939:
I designed and created both dolls for the purposes of art…
…to question the meaning of what it is to be human: we are still relatively new arrivals in this world, and are under the influences of war, capitalism, authoritarianism and the mass media.
I tried to make the figures of the dolls assume an adolescent form, but pliant, favoured, and dressed in uniform. Observers may wonder which planet these two dolls are from; what the purpose of their existence is; or what organisation they are associated with, and what tasks they have been assigned within it.
The dolls’ names, 1914 and 1939, refer to the start of the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945), respectively.


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