Mari Shimizu is a fantasy doll maker from Amakusa, Kunamoto in Japan. After successfully graduating from Tama Art University she dedicated herself to creating intricate and whimsical ball-joint dolls. She then photographs them so that one is reminiscent of medieval portraiture. These surreal dolls have a whole dark fantasy world within themselves.
The artist Shimizu opens up the chest cavity of the dolls to lay the inner workings bare for the viewer to see and experience. Thematically her work crosses many different areas, such as mythology, religion, death and nature. Rabbits seem to be especially meaningful to her, since that imagery appears throughout her work. Rabbits are symbolic for a myriad of reasons and perhaps as it pertains to Shimizu’s work is how the rabbit is regarded as an “Earth” symbol—as it is the earthly aspect of its existence that allows the animal to retain its composure in the midst of chaos. Rabbits are also categorized as being “tricksters” in various mythological tales and folklore from around the world including Japan.
Doll collectors usually do not get to see inside of their precious item. So this twisted take of the normal is rather refreshing and beautiful. Usually dolls are just filled with some sort of fluff, pellets or some other kind of filling if anything at all. The surprise to cut open a doll and discover a tiny fantasy world inside is magical.[widgetkit id=”10″ name=”surreal-dolls”]