Cecile Plaisance’s evocative career began with a doll - but not just any doll. The biggest names in fashion, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves St. Laurent, Christian Louboutin, Christian Lacroix and many others had all paid tribute to her. And as a young girl who loved all things beautiful, she included herself on the list by taking photos of the only plastic playmate she admired who was a constant fixture in the world of girls who dressed and undressed her daily - Barbie, of course. She was so successful at it that her early compositions of the icon made stars of her first snapshots. Her goal? To make life more lighthearted (and for some perhaps, more palatable) as a reminder of the innocence of childhood everywhere and a chance to bring those sweet memories back to life.
As Cecile’s photography progressed, she linked Barbie to the women of today - all the while playing with her femininity as the icon took on many lives while juggling daily life as wife, mother, friend and lover. Now the famous beauty in magazines was managing the obligations of real life by becoming an accomplished housewife to the flesh and blood Ken. She was doing what all women do and thoroughly enjoying it: flirty in her convertible; sexy on the beach; ecstatically happy during Spring Break; powerful as executive of her own company (where anything could happen), autonomous, ageless and in the end - alone as beautiful women can be in life - a Stepford wife no longer. Cecile also added humor to the Barbie mix by targeting men who absolutely expect sexiness in their women even while assuming everyday responsibilities.
Over and above the myth of woman as object, the artist elevates the idol of our collective childhood by supporting the challenges of women today to defend their rights, their desires and their hard-fought freedom. She transforms the newspaper being read by the woman in a hurry who must come up with just the right outfit, into just the right outfit, with the little black dress worn by a reserved and self conscious woman, into quite the opposite. The nun’s cloak and the burka of a veiled woman now suggests - be careful, behind one woman’s outer persona, is another one hiding. From complex subtleties to bold statements, Cecile Plaisance’s artistic eye has found them all.
Despite the differences in cultures, in clothes and fashion, and the diversity of paths taken, women aspire to live fully and intensely their multi-faceted lives and no Taliban will ever change that. In capturing the essence of all women in the perfect body of one, the artist has created a genre uniquely her own yet accessible to all.
Ms. Plaisance uses a technique of lenticular developing by super imposing images. Barbie appears to undress depending on one’s position in front of the photo.