Taiwanese fashion designer Goji Lin (林國基) last week touted an exhibition featuring his collection of more than 1,200 Barbies, saying his obsession with the dolls has helped inspire his work.
In order to share his passion with the public, Lin was persuaded to remove his dolls from their temperature-controlled rooms to Songshan Cultural and Creative Park for a special exhibition that runs from July 6 to Aug. 26.
“It will be the only chance to get a close look at probably the largest collection of Barbies in Taiwan,” Lin said. “My Barbies would usually be under security protection.”
Barbies are symbols of fashion and not just toys because each doll’s posture, clothing and even facial expression is a source of creation, said Lin, whose signature evening dress was worn by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) wife at Ma’s inaugural ball in May.
Having spent the past 15 years and more than NT$20 million indulging his desire for collecting Barbies, Lin said he has constantly applied the dolls’ art concepts and styles to his designs.
Taking the blue evening dress worn by first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) as an example, Lin said the idea of an H-shaped dress with simple lines and collage patterns was drawn from Barbies manufactured in the 1960s.
Proud of the collection that has captivated him so much, Lin said he keeps his dolls in a downtown Taipei apartment so he can visit them every two or three days for inspiration.
“You need to treat them like humans with real needs,” he said. “That’s why they must live near a subway station and a Starbucks.”
Lin’s Barbie exhibition won praise from people from all walks of life, including those in the art business.
Ambroise Pouvereau, a 29-year-old painter from France, said the exhibition is impressive even though he has never heard of Lin.
“It is full of colors and ideas,” he said, adding that he wants to also explore the art elements of the Barbies to apply them in his sketches.