The Dollhouse | Heather Benning

It took artist Heather Benning close to 18 months to convert an abandoned home in Sinclair, Manitoba into The Dollhouse, a life-size work of art built in an abandoned barn | I can guess what you’re thinking. A life-sized dollhouse is, well… a house | Yes, but no | No one lives in it | Nothing works – there is no plumbing, no electricity, and no heat | And the backside is covered in Plexiglas, giving the place a ‘don’t touch’ feel of something you might find in an expensive toy store | The dollhouse was created by Canadian artist Heather Benning, who will henceforth be known as the Gordon Matta-Clark of the dolly world | Driving to the closest city to pick up art supplies one day several years ago, she spotted the house: a gorgeous ruin, with boarded-up windows, shingles falling off the gabled roof, and rusty mattress springs inside | Deserted since 1968, the house was hers for the taking, so she grabbed a toolbelt and some sherbet-colored paint and, after 18 months, transformed it into the cozy home you see here | Much of Benning’s work is about exploring “issues of identity, rural displacement and/or reclamation, heritage, and nostalgia,” she says on her website | “I did not model it on any dollhouse, but rather restored the evidence of life that existed in the house prior” says Benning |Not sure I’d want to move in, but boobosh thinks it looks pretty smart!


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