POUPEES - The Exhibition
Seacula quarta decima et quinta decima Eodem modo typi. Modo typi qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari.
POUPEES - The Exhibition
as reviewed by Lala J-P Lestrade - 2004
The museum La Halle Saint Pierre is located in a very nice area at the feet of La Butte Montmartre, near the funiculaire and took it’s name from it’s namesake Le Marché Saint Pierre, a vast building in the back street which provides one of the biggest choice of fabrics of all kinds in Paris (many fabrics from the early Mdvanii collections come from this cornucopia of fabric). The aera is very lively and pleasant looking with its myriads of small cafés, restaurants, wine stores, shops, bookstores and food market, from the museum up to the Place des Abbesses and all the way to rue Lepic. I know this area very well because BillyBoy* and I have lived for six years down the rue Lepic, on Place Adolphe Max, previously Place Vintimille, in the apartment where French painter Edouard Vuillard once lived (he has done many paintings of this Place Vintimille, and a wonderful painting of the dining room's marble mantelpiece with a vase of iris flowers which is in the collection of the Institute of Modern Art in Chicago).
Real Men Don't Eat Quiche
The museum has a definite Baltard-style architecture, from the late 19th-century, the exact period of the mythic Halles de Paris, which were demolished in the 70s to be built on a huge modern scale in Rungis, outside Paris. It is all made in brick walls, riveted metal beams and glass and has a great light inside. The entrance hall is granted with a pleasant cafeteria will an old zinc bar where you can order simple meals such as quiche and salad. I had all the time to try the meals during the installation of the show, along with a glass of red wine, and I can tell you that what Norman Mailer said “Real men don’t eat quiche” is totally un-true. I had some with a ballon de vin rouge (I like to live dangerously on occasions) and absolutely no uncontrollable 1960s vintage vinyl handbag appeared all of a sudden at the end on my fingertips as Mailer probably thinks would happen if a male person ate a quiche. In the same hall, the bookshop is well provided with excellent artbooks.
Ritual Dolls, Fetish Dolls, Ethnic Dolls
The exhibition “POUPEES”, organized by Martine Lusardy and Allen S. Weiss, is separated in two parts: the ground floor, with a closed rotonda, is dark and where the window display cases are lit in a very pale blue light. Presented here are the ritual dolls and fetish dolls from Africa and Peru, fecondity dolls and alikes, mostly coming from the great collections of the Musée de l’Homme: Wooden dolls from Nigeria-Benin, corn cob and shell dolls from Senegal, “moina” phallic dolls from Mozambique or from Mali, in wood and fabric, to name just a few. Some dolls also come from private collections and other institutions, notably a striking ensemble from Peru, in wood, fabrics, pigments and feathers.
The regional and identity dolls are also represented and feature some lovely pieces, such as a couple of 18th-century Portugese dolls, maybe from a doll’s house, other dolls in traditional costumes from Turkey, the Netherlands, Sweden, Roumania, mostly from the late 19th-century up to the beginning of the 20th-century. There is also a Puppet theatre, with antique wooden puppets from Italy which seems to wait for a providential Geppetto to bring them to life again.
Mdvanii, Zibbi, La Petite Fille Modèle et Mademoiselle Rivière....
On this floor one can also find the first years of doll creation by BillyBoy* a selection of early classic high fashion resin Mdvanii dolls (debuting in 1988-1989), displayed for the occasion in the set made by Jacques Grange for the New Theater of Fashion Barbie Tour BillyBoy* conceived, this huge doll’s house represents the salons of the House of Yves Saint Laurent (1985): one can see the now mythical Mdvanii “Hommage à Schiaparelli” and Dheei “Tout mon coeur”, photographed by Studio Harcourt in 1993.
Also exhibited for the first time in Paris are eight Zibbi dolls. Zibbi is the boudoir-style doll presented as “The Modern-Age Doll” and whose face was inspired by Walter Bosse a Wiener-Werkstätte ceramic face. Her fashions evoke Poiret, Paquin and Patou and have names such as “Martine”, “Claire Lescot”, “Negresco” or “Hommage à Paquin”. The clothes, designed by BillyBoy*, use wonderful authentic art deco fabrics, lamés and silks.
Two other display cases feature the original Petite Fille Modèle prototype dolls, in very lively and charming poses and playful situations.
Last but not least, the refined hand-carved wooden dolls, Mademoiselle Rivière and her gallant Bénédict, inspired by the eccentric fashions of the Merveilleuses and Incroyables of the French Revolutionary days (they were the eccentrics of their time), which also have their own window display case. They all wear clothes in authentic 18th-century fabrics and have lovely miniature hand-painted fans in wood representing a country landscape in different seasons or a Vesuvio volcanic eruption.
They are displayed with their beautiful original boxes with black or pink satin cushions, what a luxury it was and how obscurely chic with their illustration made by Lala. Benedict’s hair was made with REAL hair from BillyBoy*’s own head in chestnut brown or dyed blond, others were made from legendary model Twiggy’s hair, given to BB* as a camp momento by the ex-model and Barbara Hulaniki, inventor of the famous BIBA stores of the 1960s and 70s. No DNA testing required, you have my word for it, I saved his long hair when he had them cut.. Last but not least, one of the three Mademoiselle Rivière’s doll houses created by BillyBoy* is shown there. It is a lovely two-room house decorated with antique furniture (including a lovely and rare 18th-century folding iron set), with accurate wall treatments using fabrics by Braquenié, a Paris house known for it’s fine re-editions of authentic 18th and 19th-century fabrics. The house is altogether naive and poetic very much in the taste of BB* for doll’s houses, such as the Lala House featured on the site of the Fondation Tanagra.
to be continued on page 3
Design by Lefty© Fondation Tanagra