About The Dollhouse:
built in 1974 by the
Dutch toy-firm, G. Okkerse,
is an experimental, bi-locational,
non-profit contemporary art space based in North Holland and cyberspace.
Hosting ambitious works by Dutch and International Artists* within a tiny physical gallery space, and a (theoretically) infinitely expandable virtual space, The Dollhouse tests the
role of scale, value, materiality and virtual worth in the art world today.
It explores the potential of other curatorial and institutional models, rethinking many aspects of exhibition and artistic residency practices to provide sustainable alternatives that maximise creative potential and artistic exchange while minimising the use of finite material resources.
Following a distinguished ancestral line, The Dollhouse finds its institutional roots in models of collecting that now serve as precursors to the 'modern' European Museum: the 17th Century well-to-do lady's practice of outfitting dollhouses a counterpart to the gentleman collector's Cabinet of Curiosities. The Dollhouse glances backward to these early models while, conscious of the material waste inherent in contemporary exhibition practices, responds to the need to create sustainable artistic and exhibition practices with reduced carbon footprints.
The Back Story:
Inspired by the artist-run galleries and ad-hoc exhibition spaces in homes and vacant shopping units in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the late 1990s, The Dollhouse calls on its artists and curators to take on the challenges of interpreting a tiny, quasi-domestic space (as the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall does the gigantic, industrial space), in ways that will inspire wonder and change how we think about and view art in the twenty-first century.
Taking cues from E.F. Schumacher's appeal to dehumanise scale in his seminal essay collection, 'Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered' (1973) and drawing inspiration from ecologically sensitive initiatives such as the 'tiny houses' movement, The Dollhouse, by very virtue of its size, promotes a new, environmentally and economically efficient, sustainable model of exhibiting.
The Dollhouse supports an improvisational, distributed curatorial approach that plays with ideas of scale, cultural inheritance, real and fictive spaces.
As a representative of a demographic set with young dependents and/or caring for an ailing, elderly parent or relative (the latter a subset that will only grow in number), the director of the Dollhouse believes that our professional art institutions/galleries/museums must work harder to accommodate the demands of artists in this set (women artists in particular) by building compassion into their very design. The Dollhouse, as a project, recognises and attempts to address this need, by re-examining value in terms of both time and physical scales, and virtual/physical states.
*the term artists, in this text, denotes visual artists, curators, writers, musicians, choreographers & hybrid, cross &
overlapping forms of the afore listed.