Barbie dolls sail to Lyon in a slave ship

for the occasion of the 12th biennial of contemporary art in Lyon, l’église Saint-Just welcomes artist Tom Sachs and his sculpture, the ‘Barbie slave ship’.

A critique of our consumerist, western, capitalist and pro-slavery society: names of famous personalities rub shoulders with enslaved Barbie dolls and representations of big consumer brands.

a l’occasion de la 12ème Biennale d’art contemporain, l’église Saint-Just accueille l’artiste Tom Sachs et son oeuvre, le «Barbie slave ship».

Critique de la société de consommation, occidentale, capitaliste et esclavagiste, les noms de personnages célèbres, réels ou fictifs, côtoient des barbies esclaves et des représentations de grandes marques de l’industrie.

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All images © Armance Beauchamp

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Armance Beauchamp

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  1. Elise Mellor Sep 10, 2014 at 3:08 PM - Reply

    Such an interesting commentary on modern life (or perhaps, ‘life since the beginning of time’?).
    To me this seems to examine the way in which women and girls are sexualised, treated as mindless playthings, viewed as homogeneous and without individuality, treated as chattel… I think the artist is suggesting that all of these problems are start and are perpetuated in early childhood when we give our girls toys to play with that depict women as glamorous idiots, smiling prettily and uncomprehendingly
    …so many things come to mind.
    What does everyone else see when they look at this? I’m dying to know!!

  2. Justin Williams Mar 25, 2023 at 9:06 AM - Reply

    Comparing how women and girls are treated in modern society to actual African slaves who were the property of their white masters is utterly ridiculous. The fact that a white American artist, whose western fame and relevance can be indirectly attributed to the institution of the African slave trade, would even be taken seriously with this so-called “commentary” contradicts his entire narrative.

    Tom Sachs, a member of the American oppressor class is profiting off of symbolism from the legacy of Black oppressed people. A true visionary.

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