Throughout the years, there have been many iterations of Barbie’s Dream House marketed to young girls—almost all of them garishly impractical and idealistic. None, however, have been presented as affectingly as this.
Russian-based doll photographer Lara Vychuzhanina has created an accurate miniature diorama, capturing the striking Soviet beauty, against an eerie backdrop of disillusioned nostalgia—a marked departure from the bright and shiny colors of Malibu, California.
Vychuzhanina is painstaking in her process of detailing. Not only are dishes and furnishings expertly crafted (and based on factual photographs from the era), but they have also been rubbed, scuffed and tarnished to appear hyper-realistic to the time.
Though her typical sartorial cache has been replaced with a practical plush bathrobe, and her flowing locks have been swept up under a towel turban, Barbie still possesses that signature sparkle of a confident woman. She is depicted hanging her delicates on a clothesline, sipping coffee and, most poignantly, gazing thoughtfully out the window with a feral looking pup at her feet, perhaps dreaming of better days? Or, assessing how good she’s got it compared to others?
The scenes, though open to interpretation, also manage to convey subtleties that would indicate traits about the couple’s state of mind. For example, Ken appears to be reading the Pravda newspaper (Pravda, meaning “Truth” in Russian, is formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union). It’s intricate insights like this that make the project so alluring.
The artist’s Instagram page contains other tableaus of dolls staged in typically conventional poses and social circumstances. None, however, carry the emotional heft and frankness of this unpretentious couple, seated at their kitchen table and planning the details of their day, their lives, their future.