February 24, 2024


Arts Fanatics

An Abandoned Farmhouse Transformed Into a Life-Size Dollhouse by Heather Benning Reflects on Ideas of Home



#weather disaster
#quick movie

April 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

All visuals © Heather Benning, shared with permission

A sight common to people who journey along the previous roadways and by-strategies of the North American countryside, an abandoned farmhouse is a touching reminder of improvements in the landscape and the individuals who reside there. Centered in rural Saskatchewan, artist Heather Benning has spent the previous many several years earning work that explores themes relevant to the effects of massive-scale, industrialized agriculture on community communities, family farms, and a perception of property. In 2007, this took the condition of “The Dollhouse,” a monumental artwork manufactured in a dilapidated homestead in the vicinity of the small town of Sinclair, Manitoba, that experienced been empty since the 1960s.

Benning eradicated the north wall of the building and replaced it with huge sheets of plexiglass so that viewers could peer inside just like a child’s dollhouse, but it could only be considered from the exterior⁠—there was no way to enterprise inside. Classic furniture and objects were being positioned all through vividly painted rooms that could be illuminated at evening. Like a phase set eerily devoid of people today, she preferred to explore strategies around existence and absence. “By sealing the property and keeping the audience at a eliminate, viewers were pressured to just take observe of what generates a feeling of dwelling. I assume ‘The Dollhouse’ aims to communicate to our profound need for re-link with position,” she shares with Colossal.

The dwelling stood until 2013 when, as aspect of the authentic plan for the project, it was burned to the floor. In a quick film produced in collaboration with filmmaker Chad Galloway, the digital camera files the fire as it engulfs the property completely, prompting the viewer to contemplate the exceptional grief of dropping a dwelling. The artist adds, “This is maybe specially poignant at a time when we’re ever more losing our dwelling-destinations to unfettered business and weather transform.”

Prints of “The Dollhouse” are obtainable for invest in from the Benning’s web page, and the film is out there to watch together with recent do the job that carries on to discover similar themes. You can also abide by her get the job done on Instagram.


#climate disaster
#small film


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