UPDATED: Benning’s Dollhouse on Fire


Heather Benning’s life-size  dollhouse- a popular entry in last year’s Contact Photography Festival – is now a burned ruin. The western Canadian artist torched it, saying she plans an exhibition called Death of the Dollhouse.  See more on the WP blog ReadReidRead, where the story about Benning’s act of fire originated.  (The rest of this post is Canadian Art Junkie’s original piece on Benning’s work, last year)

Benning’s life-size dollhouse began on an abandoned farm in rural Manitoba and was on exhibit in Toronto’s Contact Photography Festival last spring. Her 30 photos provided a look through an entire wall of Plexiglas, revealing rooms now restored with decor from the time the house was abandoned in 1968.

-Reshingling the roof

Kitchen Sideboard before Restoration

The contrast in the exterior and interior speak to themes surrounding the passage of time, childhood play, memory, reclamation and nostalgia. The Dollhouse delves deeply into exploring the act of dwelling and engaging with a deep sense of place. –Telephone Booth Gallery

-Dollhouse Detail

-Reflections of the Kitchen (left) and Living Room, restored

-Green Bedroom, Night

-Upstairs Foyer, Night

-Staircase before restoration

Heather Benning created The Dollhouse while serving as artist-in-residence for Redvers, Saskatchewan, about 30 kilometres west of the house near Sinclair, Manitoba. The installation took nearly 18 months. The exhibit celebrates its 5th anniversary with never before exhibited images documenting its creation.

Heather Benning was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan in 1980 and now lives and works in rural Saskatchewan and Glasgow, Scotland.

Heather Benning’s website, here.

Telephone Booth Gallery exhibit, here.

19 replies »

  1. Wow- it took me by surprise, as an act of art it stirred up memories of a home fire from childhood, as a doll house it disturbed me as I have built over 50 dolls houses for people to have in their homes. your right it does stir so many thoughts on home and safety and looking into our living. It is what art is all about. Good project!!!


  2. This is amazing concept for the exhibition… I wished to be there… How beautiful and exciting… I love creative mind… I love artful world… Thank you so much, with my love, nia


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