In the series of photographs titled Role Models, Flora Zimmeter stages selected images of females in western art history with dolls and accessories found in her daughter’s play crate. The photos referring to well-known works of art can easily be matched to their sources of inspiration due to clues given by props, hair colour and formal elements such as composition and lighting.
Certain poses and gestures, e.g. reclining figures or Venuses drawn from the formal repertoire of Antiquity, have been copied in various guises in western pictorial tradition, thus influencing the idea of womanhood over the centuries. Besides uncovering the aesthetic predilections of different historical periods, Flora Zimmeter visualizes the powerful impact images have on children’s ideas of beauty and social norms.
By putting dolls in an art historical context, the artist questions the self-evidence and naturalness of social processes, thus facilitating new ways of reading and interpreting works of art as well as child’s play.