“Does anyone love you?”, 04/03/1999 – 03/04/1999
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The human figure is always topical, even though it is subject to contemporary influences and is expressed in different styles.
The work in the photograph assumes the proportions and the shape of a certain Barbie doll we all know, although it is not clearly stated: a slim body, a face with no outstanding features. The figure is suspended in a dress-like shape. Is it a variation of the skirt of Velasquez, or perhaps a more modern version of the dresses of the Spanish sculptor Muñoz? Lina Bebi, who is exhibiting this work from the series “Does anyone love you?” at the “Medusa” gallery (from March 4), goes beyond the simple presentation of the garment to reveal and describe its construction.
On the other hand, the structure with the horizontal and vertical elements of wire points to the familiar picture of the closed space, which allows breathing but restricts freedom.
So the doll is shut up in a cage-prison. It may sway, but only within the limits described by the diameter of the cage, while the posture of the second figure outside the cage imitates motion.
Bebi’s overall treatment of the subject constitutes a chronicle of female problems, quite humorous and with a mocking mood. Childhood memories are organised around the doll; the attempts at growing up and emancipation, through the doll’s escape from the cage.
The dolls are made of wax, one of Bebi’s favourite materials from her earlier shows.
Lina Bebi records a personal course from a female viewpoint and in an apparently humorous mood, going from inertia to motion and from silence to communication in a show under the title “Does anyone love you?” Her small sculptures at the “Medusa” gallery, wall-mounted or free-standing, are dominated by the figure of a faceless doll closed in a wire cage. The doll is made of wax — a material Bebi has often used in the past to emphasise the perishable as well as humble character of the form which thus accentuates the meaning. And the meanings here can be multiple…
Inspired by illustrated brochures of the ’50s and ’60s, Lina Bebi presents a series of drawings with gold foil on paper. She deals with childhood memories in a humorous mood, while attempting a personal interpretation of the world with timeless human desires as the ‘stars’. A typical example, which expresses man’s greatest emotional needs is her three-part work “Health! Happiness!”, a piece based on an old beer advert with the slogans “A great love” and “Joy! Optimism!”.
A wheelchair symbolises the feeling of subjugation, in a work influenced by a hospital brochure. Overall, Bebi’s creations function as a kind of collective diary in which the needs meet the social stereotypes, while in a work that references a well-known board game for children the artist ‘winks’ at viewers and urges them to give a new look to things we usually take for granted. “The images, combined with words, may look simple at first sight, but I believe that by looking at them through the prism of personal experience, one may find new meanings or even desires and dreams”, says the artist.