Shinako Sato

Barbie, like you’ve never seen her before.

Photographer Shinako Sato reportedly worked for five years as a makeup artist for a mortician, daubing the dead with lipstick. Perhaps that explains her fascination with elaborately staged and dressed dioramas of stiff figures (thankfully, dolls not real dead people). Sato works with Barbie dolls and plastic figures, posed and lit with cinematic intensity, then photographed and printed onto plexi-glass, and finally painted with little accents or illuminated with a witty caption. The resulting images could be surreal film stills from some weird parallel world where Barbie and Ken star in their own action, erotic and exploitation movies. In a previous show, one dead Barbie doll was inscribed “I’m gonna die… in your dirty mind.” Otaku art as only the Japanese can do. (Tokyo Q)

The show is at Gallery Side 2 in Akasaka until April 23.