New art exhibit shows the world within dolls

The Doll – The World Within runs from Friday, November 27- Saturday, December 5, at Arena Mall, 2 Ha-Shunit St., Herzliya Pituah.

ONE OF Elena Kunin’s doll creations. (photo credit: Courtesy)
ONE OF Elena Kunin’s doll creations.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Doll – The World Within, a unique and colorful exhibition featuring art dolls, paintings, photographs and graphic and applied arts, will open this Friday, November 27, at the Arena Mall in Herzliya Pituah. All Health Ministry guidelines will be observed.
The chief curator of the exhibition, Elena Kunin, an art critic and art doll maker in her own right, tells The Jerusalem Post, “Ours is a curator exhibition, meaning that we present only works by leading artist from Israel, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Austria, Italy and Latvia, and this is what makes the difference.”
She goes on to explain that, strangely enough, “The corona pandemic has played into our hands. As a Russian saying goes, “There would be no fortune if misfortune hadn’t helped.’ Usually, artists almost immediately sell their works to collectors and art galleries, but not now. This is why we were able to present their dolls to the Israeli public. This is especially important, since in Israel, doll art is less known.”
The exhibition presents art dolls alongside painting, photography, and graphic and applied arts to create an unusual art space filled with unexpected parallels, subtle allusions, deep meanings and curious dialogues, explains Kunin, who graduated from Moscow University, where she majored in art history.
Kunin started creating art dolls “quite late, already being a mature person. Back in the 1980s, in the closed Russian world, I believed that I had created a new art form. It was only in Israel where I discovered that this art form is flourishing all over the world,” she admits with a smile.
“Creating dolls is never boring, and this is what probably attracts me. I sculpt, I paint, I make costumes and wigs. As for tiny details – they are my big love. For example, one of my dolls, which will be exhibited, holds a Japanese fan and silk scroll – and I did it all on my own. It is so interesting!”
“They provoke not only emotional, but also multi-layered intellectual associations. That said, one can still enjoy them without knowing the story behind the doll,” she explains.
“What a pity! Due to the corona pandemics I will be unable to come to the exhibition opening,” sighs Anastasia Katsan, as she speaks over the phone from her home in Ukraine. “But I will come next year. Promise!”
Katsan, who is the founder and curator of the Doll Magic project in her native Kiev, confides that for her, “Dolls are a miracle. An art doll is not a toy, it is something that exists on a thin border between death and life, and there is something mystic about them. If I manage to breathe life into it, I feel extremely happy.”
In Israel, Katsan’s “Voices of the Night” dolls will be presented.
“I was working on this couple for a long time during the hard and cold winter. Then, on Passover night, I went to Vladimirsky Cathedral in Kiev, and I suddenly saw these deep blue skies, the stars and the golden domes. These colors have somehow come together, and this is how dolls were finally born. I believe that they reflect the beauty of the winter night and of my city.”
Katsan explains that hers is a color approach.
“It is through colors that I express emotions, and probably this is what makes my dolls different. Green, red, blue faces. And never the exact skin tone.”
Kunin emphasizes that the exhibition organizers are following the strict guidelines of the Health Ministry.
“Masks, temperature measuring, social distancing, whatever. The exhibition hall is spacious enough, and the tickets can only be booked online in order to limit the number of viewers.”
The Doll – The World Within runs from Friday, November 27- Saturday, December 5, at Arena Mall, 2 Ha-Shunit St., Herzliya Pituah.
For reservations and more information, go to: or