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Talking to Artist Martín Gutierrez About His Photo Series on Real Dolls

martingutierrez_5.jpgReal Doll, Raquel 4, 2013

Real Dolls, those life-size (and creepily life-like) sex dolls found in adult stores, the Internet and Lars and the Real Girl, are the focus of a new photographic series by artist Martín Gutierrez. The series, which is a part of Gutierrez's first career solo show, Martin(e), at Ryan Lee Gallery, explores aspects of transformation, performance and gender and features the artist assuming the role of four Real Doll characters in a variety of scenes. Martín, a Vermont native and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, works alone, styling the scene, doing his own hair and makeup, and shooting the images with a remote control on a timer. We caught up with Gutierrez to talk to him about his show, why he decided to explore the world of sex dolls, and his thoughts on people who fall in love with inanimate objects.

What was the inspiration for you to explore the world and roles of Real Dolls?

'Real Dolls' or 'Love Dolls' are a growing market of life size fetish sex dolls that can be customized and ordered online. My first introduction to the Real Doll phenomenon was a documentary I found to be both disturbing and thought provoking called Guys and Dolls. As someone who grew up playing with dolls, dressing them, and creating elaborate worlds for them, Real Dolls seemed a way to continue that play and infuse 'grown up' issues.

In your photographs for the series, you compose the scenes to reflect the desires of their owners. Can you tell us about these owners?

The men who I imagine personalize, dress, and care for each doll are just as important to me as the dolls themselves. Each doll (Mimi, Luxx, Ebony and Raquel) is a reflection of her owner's needs or fantasies. It is important for viewers to interpret the story their own way, to create their own narrative.

Do you see these characters ever extending into your video or performance work in the future?

It is too soon to tell. I like to move forward and into new projects, but I have a feeling my love of dolls will not be waning any time soon.

Even though they are inanimate objects I can see how it wouldn't be hard to personify the dolls. But what about people who fall in love with lamps or the Eiffel Tower? Have you explored the phenomenon of people who fall in love with buildings and objects?

Yes, I'm not about to dress up like a lamp but I have thought about it. In working on the Real Doll photographs, I did quite a bit of research into Fetishism and Objectophilia and came to a new understanding about the people faced with it. Some people just love their laptops more than others.

Martin(e) will be running until August 16th at Ryan Lee Gallery, 527 West 26th St., New York City

More photos from the show:

martin_gutierrez4.jpgReal Doll, Luxx 1, 2013

martingutierrez_1.jpgReal Doll, Ebony 3, 2013

martin_gutierrez3.jpgReal Doll, Raquel 1, 2013

martin_gutierrez2.jpgReal Doll, Mimi 1, 2013
Photos by Martín Gutierrez

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