Belle, 2008

From the series “Fallen Princesses”, (2007 – 2009)

The series consists of 10 photographs depicting Disney Princesses and other Fairy Tale characters placed within a modern environment. The work examines elements of the human condition and creates metaphor out of the myths of fairy tales, forcing the viewer to contemplate real life: failed dreams, the fallacy of chasing eternal youth, obesity, Cancer, the extinction of indigenous cultures, pollution, ocean degradation and war. By embracing the textures and colors created by Walt Disney, which built a multi-billion-dollar empire exploiting these fairy tales, the work questions the notion of the idealistic ‘Happily Ever After’ motif, composed by Disney, and spoon fed to children throughout the world.

A Belle et la Bête is a fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740. Apart from the Disney version most people are familiar with the shortened tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (1711 – 1780). Beaumont pared down the list of characters of Beauty and Beast and simplified the tale to transform it into a quintessential fairy tale. Rather than just fantasy or fable, her rendering of Beauty and the Beast is actually more a critique of women’s rights of the time, hidden behind layers of marital guidance. Variants have been found in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, China and South America. The Disney version is most recent and well known. The rose is something that appears in both the Disney movies and original story, but they serve very different purposes. In the animated movie, the flower counts the days until the Beast’s demise, signaling the time Belle has left to help break the spell. But in the original text, the rose is what instigates the entire mess. The candelabra Lumiere and ornate clock Cogsworth do not appear in the original story, The people in the cursed palace did face a similar fate, however. In the original story, they are frozen as statues after the prince is transformed so that no one leaves the grounds to tell anyone of the secret. Once the spell is broken, they simply awake as if no time has gone by. Goldstein’s uncanny portrait depicts Belle as an aging Princesses holding on to her fleeting youth. From a high angle shot she is instantly recognizable. We see Belle instantly recognizable in her yellow gown and the gloved hands of plastic sergeants holding surgical tools, and a syringe, performing plastic surgery on her face. Goldstein intentionally injects grotesque elements in order to reference the modern cultural phenomenon of augmentation and obsession with unrealistic beauty ideals. Procedures today are more accessible, cheaper, and often require less downtime means more and more women are turning to plastic and cosmetic surgery. We’re living in an age where all over the world everyone is getting the same work done, often watering down their ethnic features and upholding a homogenization of what is considered “beautiful”. 

With this series Dina Goldstein achieved her international breakthrough in the art market. The series brought Goldstein numerous TV appearances and contributions and made her famous in a short time.

Watch here a few examples:
Fanny Kiefer Show
German TV
Spain Mega TV
CBS ART Canada

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