Heather Benning refurbished an abandoned farmhouse built in the 60s and turned it into a life-sized Dollhouse in the style of the era. Her project began in 2005, as she remade the house to be used, re-shingling the roof with recycled shingles, restoring and furnishing the house, and stood open to the public until 2013. She removed the north side of the building, and replaced it with plexi-glass, to look like an authentic children’s toy. When the building was no longer structurally sound, Benning – who has already planned for such an event – burned it down. The resulting images of the 8 year long project are lovely, although I’m sure seeing the thing in life would be much more exciting!
Benning grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. It has profoundly influenced her practice. Rather than installing in urban centers, as is the general practice of sculpture and installation artists – because, you know, there are more people to see your work – she installs in rural settings similar to where she grew up.
Benning speaks about her relationship to farmhouses:
I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. I was affected by my surroundings; when I was young, my parents would give me disused farm buildings for “play-houses.”
There was also an abandoned farmyard/house about a mile through the field on some land my father worked. In the summer months and on weekends, I would spend days exploring this yard and house, imagining what it was prior—who the people were, make up stories why they left. My sister and I would play “pioneer” based on the tales our grandmothers told us.
(Article and quote via Canadian Art)