"[Gaga Stigmata has] very modern, edgy photography to free flowing, urban narratives without censure to analytical essays, et cetera—like Gaga, imagination without ... limits. And the beauty is that anyone can submit work to the site, so artists and writers from all over the [world] have joined this experiment." -The Declaration.org

"Since March 2010, [Gaga Stigmata] has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on [Lady Gaga]."
-Yale's The American Scholar

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Sisters Flesh Dolls

By Saul Zanolari

Artist Bio:
Saul Zanolari was born in Mendrisio, Switzerland in 1977.  He first exhibited in 2005 in a small gallery in Milan and now has works in permanent collections in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Basel, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo. His subjects are stars, friends, famous drag queens, and icons of a fantastical world.

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  1. http://cdn03.cdn.thesuperficial.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/0620-lady-gaga-green-pubic-hair-01-480x720.jpg

  2. Do you see that Gaga is in mid move? Do you see that she is engaging her audience? She has chosen to present herself to her adoring fans and she has decided to wear green hair, exactly where she has decided to wear it, while doing so. She has purpose in her eyes, they are not vacant. She does not tilt her head to one side in a show of acquiescence. She does not shed her clothes without reason. These are dolls, toys, playthings to satisfy the needs of others, they are pinned in a case. Powerless.
    I don't see a correlation between them and Gaga.

  3. Eyes vacant? Not true.
    Naked meaningless? Not true.
    Acquiescence? Maybe but for a purpose.
    Dolls? Not true.
    Powerless? Not true.
    I don't know if there is a direct correlation between Saul Zanolari's artworks and Lady Gaga.
    I think both they are describing a situation, a human condition, an era.
    That's enough to appreciate either Lady Gaga and the 7Sisters, each in its context.

  4. Hi Marianne!

    First, these dolls are not meant to be models or stand-ins for Gaga.

    It's interesting, though, that you see them as playthings--I find them quite menacing. (& their head-tilts more robotic than acquiescent). Their various genital armor suggests, too, that they don't actually exist to satisfy others' needs, though they appear to.

    This piece relates to Gaga's project in its embrace of a kind of cyborgian objecthood. These dolls seem to be embracing their doll-status, their status as desire objects (how much choice do they have?) while arming themselves with spikes, crazy eye-glints, grotesque body hair. This artwork may be more ambivalent, though, about objecthood, than Gaga. Where I think it's easy to read Gaga as celebratory, as empowering (isn't this the role of the pop star?), these dolls disturb in their more obvious lack of freedom, their vulnerability despite their armor. Objecthood is lonely, puts one in a case, makes one a spectacle, which is vulnerable. What if we see these dolls, in part, as a critique of Gaga?

  5. I very much do find this to be a powerful piece. I find that the dolls themselves seem to be powerless to change their standing, that they absolutely have no choice put to comply with the demands of their owner. They may be embracing their condition but only as a means of survival. It seems to me that they have been ornamented to suit the fancy of the orchestrator.
    I'm not suggesting that the piece isn't meaningful, of course it is, and I think it's voice is unequivocally screaming that they are most definitely objects. Dolls, that have been manipulated, played with, in order to pleasure the manipulator.

    The artist is very good at his job, to day the least.

    And no, Sam, I don't want to critique Gaga! Please don't make me. :)

  6. I tried to post this much more eloquently yesterday, but it did not let me, so now here's the rushed version:

    Gaga turned the gaze from the popular image of the Popstar to the music and the art through the use of often grotesque imagery (death, meat, hair), and similarly this artwork takes the popular Barbie-image of "perfect women" (as promised us at childhood when given our first Barbie dolls) and turns the gaze similarly through the use of further grotesque imagery.

    Some deeper thought was given this at the time of posting, but was lost amidst semi-crashed internet servers.

  7. Gaga’s Zombie Boy Sports a Look with No Tattoos.



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