Puppets are just animated objects; a sculptors wet dream. Pygmalionism is a sexual fetish bred in the 19th century from a myth found in Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The story goes that Pygmalion was a sculptor who created a woman so perfect he fell in love with the female marble form (dreamily depicted in the painting below). Athena satisfied his desires by turning his artwork into a living woman. His lust for the animated statue went as far as him fathering a child with her/it. This story is the basis for a history of the erotic doll. More specifically a text by Marquard Smith entitled The Erotic Doll: A Modern Fetish that had sparked my interest in sexual desires for objects.
Aside from the various wax anatomical dolls of the 16th and 17th century, the next chapter in the history of the erotic doll centers on another artist. Interestingly enough, Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian expressionist who decided when he came back from WWI, he would live a secluded life content with the company of an erotic doll (pictured at the beginning of the blog post) based on an ex girlfriend. This story became the inspiration for the story of my puppet show because I was attracted to the uncanny creepiness of his polar bear fur doll. My take on the story is that this doll is, in fact, the more progressive artwork compared to his paintings.
My background is in fine art. I graduated with a BFA from The Cooper Union in 2011 where I studied video, sculpture, and drawing (one of my fantasy sculptures is pictured above). I came to this show with an interest in animorphic objects that haunt my childhood from The Brave Little Toaster to the soft Pixar animation of Cars. These anthropomorphic characters have transcended their innocent roots and become fetish objects of desire found only in the outskirts of Japanese Hentai.
All The Brown Butterflies is an adult puppet show set in Detroit. It stars Old Put the clown (a persona I have used as a performance artist pictured above) and an array of animorphic objects and zoomorphic animals. The gist of the story is that Old Put is a struggling basket making clown who would like to make a Joumana real doll more realistic by employing other artist he finds on Craigslist. Below is a character sketch for The Pleather Puppy puppet, which is one of the artists that Old Put employs to make his personal injury lawyer doll.