Laurie Simmons has been photographing dolls for a while now, but this is the first time she has used models inside the dolls, or rather made models of the dolls. She uses both male and female models although the dolls are feminine. Kigurumi dolls are not a uniquely japanese phenomenon, Simmons just borrows the word. Kigurumi has no single word that it can be translated into, kigurumi dolls are bulky costumes of cartoon characters, like the type you would see at disneyland. Simmons takes this and creates her series. The result is at once foreign and familiar. looking at the people in costumes we see that they are more human that her previous doll work; which adds to the overall eerie quality. Simmons is a great artist who utilizes photography and is branching out of non animate objects to animate objects that are still different enough to make us question where the line is between model and costume. When does makeup become a costume? Are the Kigurumi costumes that different from putting clothes on a model? Simmons thinks of the kigurumi and makeup as a mask, shielding the wearer from the outside world and creating a unique space with anonymity. Simmons prefers to have us ask questions rather than give us answers.
Review by John Hutt
Photographs by Lena Vassiliou