On Cloud 9, photographs by Mónica Vélez
As a girl, Mónica Vélez collected boxed dolls she never played with. "They will lose their beauty," her mother warned. Her mother's idea didn't bother Mónica at first, and she made her room an alter of plastic beauties. Dolls were the objects of her desire, untouchable and wanted. Then she went through a stage when she hated these dolls. Mónica took them out of their boxes and subjected them to a range of punishments. She found herself shooting them with a camera: some untouched, some disrobed, some broken, some disheveled, but all alluring. She became obsessed with the construction of beauty and the role of plastic in women's beautification rituals.
On Cloud Nine is a series of hair curlers piled and posed as if they were beauties themselves. Clouds are for dreamers; so too vanity items. It's easy to fall in love with them. They are mementos of women's intimate longing and delight, as well as the time they spend with themselves on themselves. Mónica found these disposable, vulnerable pieces in need of strength, and she tries to give them an aesthetic life.
July 9, 2013