The Dolls Have Eyes

Georgia Perkins
Aug 10, 2014 2:42PM

Gillian Wearing’s photograph ‘Lily Cole 2009, presents the model as a doll-like figure which makes the overall image look quite sinister because of the obvious mask Cole is wearing.  Additionally, her eyes almost look like they are made from glass, which makes this image even more haunting.   The false eyelashes also makes her look like a doll and yet reminds the viewer that this is a modern photograph.  Wearing could be suggesting that times have not changed since the Victorian period as women are still objectified.  Due to the black background and the cracks in the mask, Wearing could also be creating a social comment on domestic violence and the way women are controlled by society’s rules. Furthermore, the cracks in the mask could suggest there are cracks lying underneath the surface through the way the media portrays women as automatons.  Through using Photoshop, these cracks are blurred in order to cover up these underlying faults. In the photograph, the suggestion of innocence comes from her blue eyes, pale skin and white clothing, which connotes purity. Furthermore, Cole’s lips look Pre-Raphaelite, which would emphasise the Victorian style of clothing she is wearing. The Pre-Raphaelites have been criticised in the past for their objectification of women and exploitation of women’s illness; Wearing could be portraying Cole’s pale complexion as frighteningly vulnerable rather than beautiful.  Finally, there is an emphasis on Cole’s neck and red hair, which is similar to the Pre-Raphaelite style. Overall, this image looks quite sinister due to Cole’s staring gaze directed towards the viewer, making them feel like they are personally being affected, and perhaps judged, by this watchful stare.

Georgia Perkins
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