Marina Bychkova's Enchanted Dolls

Marina Bychkova is an artist whose medium are dolls. Her work is absolutely stunning. Bychkova's lovely figures remind me of a Mark Ryden or Lori Earley painting brought into the 3D realm. Seen here is "Bride of Frankenstein" (2008, 13.5" tall). From the doll description:
Bride2 I like to challenge conventional imagery of known literary characters, and provide an alternative view of how they might have looked. The reason my Bride is blonde, is to contrast the iconic image of the movie's version, and also to play on the idea of the body's low Melanin levels. I imagine that when she was alive she was bright and vibrant with dark eyes and raven hair, but the postmortem trauma to her body and the mechanical process of reanimating her corpse had changed its molecular composition. I think that being blasted with several thousand volts of electricity would contribute to that also. The metal helmet is her life support and what keeps her dead brain artificially alive by pumping oxygen into it and zapping it with small amounts of electricity to maintain its basic functions. It acts like a pump and a defibrillator.
The Enchanted Doll (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

Previously on Boing Boing:
Marina Bychkova "Mermaid Song" doll
Marina Bychkova incredible dolls

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  1. Yes, the helmet and that killer bodice are beautiful. The scar where aliens reached in and ripped her heart out…. also kind of cool.

  2. Oh this is lovely! Thanks for the link to this artist, she’s wonderful! I spent the last hour drooling over her beautiful tiny clothing and delicate silver castings not to mention her slightly alien looking dolls! The re-interpretation of Alice she did is wonderful too and, yay, Russian folklore!

  3. The “movie version” of The Bride of Frankenstein, huh? Well, good luck finding the “book version” for comparison.

  4. Fabulous! I was so pleased to discover these dolls yesterday, on your post about Elfdolls, and they are growing on me fast.

    It’s absolutely worth visiting the entire site: the artist makes the dolls, dresses, jewellery and accessories herself from scratch! I was just shaking my head in disbelief.

  5. #5 posted by thatbob

    “…the movie’s version…,” compared to hers, not the “movie version” as if there were a book version. Just a simple mis-reading, I’m sure. : )

  6. The skill is impressive. The artist is very talented. But the victim aspect of this doll, right down to her eyes brimming with tears, creeps me out. And to find this sexually attractive rings all kinds of abuser alarms.

  7. @ Pipenta

    Her ‘Agnetha’ doll might please you more: It is the princess the prince actually married in the original ‘The Little Mermaid’ tale.

    I think that doll won me over first (despite my own, usual discomfort with dolls) because it explored a theme I had myself pondered upon. Agnetha looks peaceful, aloof and self assured, and the artist views her as an empowered figure:

    In giving up a fundamental part of her personality- her ability to speak, the Little Mermaid had made the mistake of so many infatuated, teenage girls and put all her bets on her physical appearance to win the Prince’s heart. Although her surreal beauty enchanted the Prince, he could never take her seriously and commit to her as an equal partner. She was a beautiful but a hollow vessel to him without her ability for meaningful, verbal communication and her referred to her as his “Dumb foundling”. (Andersen) So he married a woman who had more to offer than just looks.

  8. @Thatbob #5

    The “book version” of The Bride of Frankenstein is mentioned frequently around chapter 16-17, makes her first real appearance when the doctor creates her at the end of chapter 19 and is the center of attention for all of chapter 20. Her premature destruction is what drives the other characters for the remainder of the story.
    She is only called “the companion” throughout the novel, but it is quite clearly the same character that would later appear in the second “Frankenstein” movie from Universal.

    Seriously dude, if you´re gonna call people out for not knowing their source material, it might be a good idea to get to know the material yourself first.

  9. #9 Pipenta “And to find this sexually attractive rings all kinds of abuser alarms.”
    Not at all. Wounds and physical vulnerability can bring out protective instincts simultaneously with sexual attraction in men (and women as well for that matter.) I am personally disturbed by people like you who want to squash any expressions of masculine sexuality as assuredly as a Victorian preacher with reckless accusations. That is truly a more dangerous sadism than rather innocently finding deep scars to be rather erotic.
    Unfortunately I find Bychkova’s descriptions to be kinda silly. Marina, please stop talking about your art and just make more.

  10. @Cuvtixo – you gotta talk about your art or you won’t get grants ;) And you can chose to or not to read the artist’s statement – and while art should stand on its own without explanation ( i don’t get to stand up and explain my costume choices before a play!) Marina is still a person and her voice and stories and process should be heard – and are really interesting to me.
    @Pipenta I think there is room for sexy/creepy and nurturing/sexy without abuse coming into it. May not be your thing – but it isn’t necessarily harmful. There is definitely a sick skinny creepy aesthetic going on here. I’m a little disturbed that all her dolls look that way. (some less sick – but all super thin) It’s interesting to me that she seems so aware of women’s portrayal in these stories and yet she portrays a very specific shape of woman. On the other hand, maybe that’s the point. Perhaps she wants to create creepy beautiful images – that we are attracted to – but that also feel a bit wrong . . . (yeah art that makes us talk!!!!)

  11. Hmmm…my instinct is to say its gross. As I look closer, she’s crying and she looks like she has been/is being tortured. And is practically naked. Hmmmm…makes me think about feminism…and maybe beauty? She has been robbed of her identity and her life, only to be forced to live again as someone/thing else. At first glance, I would have never thought it would make me think this much.

  12. @ #14 Eyorex

    “She is only called “the companion” throughout the novel, but it is quite clearly the same character that would later appear in the second “Frankenstein” movie from Universal.”

    True dat. You said it quicker (and with better documentation) than I would’ve.

  13. “Marina Bychkova is an artist whose medium are dolls. ”
    Subject/verb agreement, anyone? Medium is singular, media is plural.

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