Female Parts – props

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– fringe festival of toronto –
1995

There was no money for this project.

The director, Josephine La Grice wanted props made of mannequins for several short plays written by Italian leftist playwrights Franca Rame and Dario Fo produced in Toronto under the title “Female Parts”.

The producers provided a male and a female mannequin and the chair. The rest of the materials I bought and or found.

I tried to create Dada-style props — a variation on the anti-art readymade.

The doll heads on bottles are something I have a vague memory of from my childhood. Obviously, the bottles are made to reflect the shape of a woman’s body, so girl’s heads make perfect sense.

I had a large plastic cat from a craft shop and initially wanted to make a Cheshire cat, but instead I cut up a doll and glued its face onto the cat, made and attached a tail and then covered the body in faux leopard skin.

I also made a paper mache pig with a bonnet for the baby in the play. One of the plays was “Alice in Wonderlessland”.

To create the chair below I had to cut up the male mannequin. I used a jig saw to dissect it into a piece I could add to the chair. I drilled holes down the sides and wired it to the chair back. I then upholstered the seat cushion and concealed the wire with some of the fur. I painted both the chair and the mannequin.

The mannequins were very difficult to work with because they were hollow Fiberglas, and it was painful penetrating the material. I drilled, wired, and glued the pieces of plywood to them. I screwed metal bars into the pieces for added security where I could.

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