REALISTIC SURREAL: Popovy Sisters’ art of doll making
Ekaterina and Elena Popovy are twin sisters from Perm, Russia. They studied at the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg and started making dolls in 2004. Today, they craft the most exquisite and realistic, yet mystic and even surreal dolls that have captivated both the worlds of fashion and fine art. By fusing costume design, the art of doll making and erotica with ease, the sisters come to an intriguing solution that is most compelling, but also makes one feel uneasy.
They started out making portrait dolls and became growingly interested by the life stories and characters at first of their subject, later of man in general. They broadened their knowledge of the human anatomy and facial gesture, but also of various artistic materials, such as china, self-fusing plastics, fume and baked plastics. When they found that portrait dolls didn’t quite let them express themselves enough, they started making fashion dolls. This was to combine their passion for fashion design and for the characteristics of the human body. Sister Popovy’s fashion dolls have grown into a small conceptual collection of over 10 different dolls.
Each collection is born out of an idea or an emotion, after which the girls research history, gather images, develop texture, choose technique and draw sketches. The process of finding the right gesture, costume and style combination is where they express their creativity to the fullest. The girls make several dolls or one collection a year and the making of each doll is extremely time consuming, as everything is handmade from start to finish. The sisters always work together, inspiring and completing each other.
The first conceptual project called fashionMOON was presented at the 3rd International Salon in Moscow. The collection was readily accepted by the audience and received wide recognition by the Russian press. Since then, the sisters have shown their work repeatedly in Russia and beyond, being featured more and more in Western media. When exhibiting, they pay as much attention to how they do it as to what they show – by decorating the background area and choosing the right music, they take the viewer to a journey or embark a certain emotion.
The artistic value, the quality of their craft and level of creative energy oozing from their creations is undeniable. The elaborately dressed dolls have the finest combination of unapproachable ‘fakeness’ of a fashion doll and the warmth of human gestures, bound together into an intriguing concoction of mystery and realism.
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