“Be careful what you wish for” seems to be the overriding message from Dina Goldstein‘s In the Dollhouse; Barbie and Ken look like they have it all, but something vital is missing from their seemingly idyllic existence. When all physical flaws are corrected, all material wants satisfied and all extremes of emotion – even negative – removed, are we really any happier overall? Her super-smooth model dolls, acting out a contemporary version of a photoplay, seem to suggest not.
Goldstein’s Dollhouse images form half of the Canadian’s first US solo show. Fallen Princesses accounts for the other, and in this series we see the heroines of classic fairytales and folk stories brought down to earth with a considerable bump as the realities of modern life hit home. Again a reaction against the unattainable ideals children are sold, we see Rapunzel’s flowing locks cut short by chemotherapy, questions of ageing and mortality raised by Sleeping Beauty, and a Cinderella who clearly didn’t make it to the ball after all, seeking solace at the bottom of a glass. Fallen Princesses and In the Dollhouse are being shown at CHG Circa, Culver City, California, until 14 June.