Category Archives: Silent Figures

Headless, armless, bodiless and emotionless. Couture clad and admired; naked, outré and demure; dressed for work and jobless. Dummies, models, mannequins: silent figures, uncomplaining sales assistants in the army of commerce. Silent partners in the artist’s work.

Mannequins – A Strange Parade

I’m surprised to discover that my first posting under Silent Figures was as long ago as December 2010 and there have been 68 subsequent entries.  In October 2016 I wrote that I was making progress with a photo book based … Continue reading

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Mannequin Photo Book

I’m making progress with my photo book of mannequins.  Following a short introduction, the first sections covering the Unreal and Ideal, Abstraction, Gender & Race, Agalmatophilia, Automatonophobia, Mannequin Art and Live Mannequins are almost complete, except for an additional picture … Continue reading

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Abstract Mannequin

With mannequins, sometimes simplicity sells.  Independent shops, markets and stalls distance themselves from the high street with minimalist, abstract, conceptual figures.  Outlines, wire frames, straw bundles, glorified coat hangers become signs of alternative lifestyles and aspirations.  Sometimes the minimalist figure … Continue reading

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Mannequins Caged

Surplus mannequins are crowded and caged out of the way in an ugly building; echoes of inhuman treatment to real people. All are white, except for one silver figure.  Do mannequins here reflect racial stereotyping?  Of 244 figures in Cambridge … Continue reading

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Heffers Skeleton

Another example of the scary use of figures – in this case hardly a mannequin – here in Heffers to advertise Agatha Christie. While there I picked up a copy of The Anatomical Venus….’A disquieting volume of deftly crafted dissectable … Continue reading

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Automatonophobia

Sometimes mannequins deliberately have a spooky, disturbing and uncertain reality.  Many are headless, many are faceless; sometimes the head is just strange, sometimes deformed; occasionally a chimera takes centre stage.  Figures are left armless and legless; dismembered, invariably naked, body … Continue reading

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Next Figures

Next, Sidney Street, Cambridge, June 2016

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Optical Head

Another imaginative use of mannequin body parts by Clamp opticians, see post 15th April 2015.  Note echoes of Grayson Perry pots. Photo: Clamp Opticians, Cambridge, June 2016

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Slimming Mannequin

Mannequins are usually dressed to kill and dressed to sell.  The figures are impossibly idealised, the clothes are the latest fashions and draped with a designer’s eye.  It’s all done with corporate correctness and control.  Charity shops are among the … Continue reading

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Say Hello

“That’s the nightmare, isn’t it, to be abandoned in perpetuity?  Robinson Crusoe on his island, Frankenstein’s monster disappearing onto the ice, Solaris, Gravity, Alien, a weeping Will Smith in I am Legend wandering the desolate, unpeopled, post-plague city of New … Continue reading

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Kabul ’52

Reading And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. It is autumn 1952 and Abdullah and Pari have arrived in Kabul from their remote village for the first time; they are sitting on a sidewalk bench eating street food. ‘Look, Abdullah,’ … Continue reading

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Abominable Figure

A new take on silent partners in window displays. “Ted Baker in Cambridge has been accused of taking the romance out of Christmas with a tongue-flicking abominable snowman window display – which has been branded ‘gross and leering’. Shoppers at … Continue reading

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Petrol Heads

Unusual use of silent figures – a garage in Elsworth, Cambridgeshire; photos November 2015        

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Museum Figures

Previous posts have focused mainly on the use of mannequins in shop displays and to a lesser extent as aids for artists. They also have role in museum and heritage displays. Since the opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre in … Continue reading

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Camden

A recent family visit to Camden reminded me reminded me what a rich crowd of silent figures inhabit the shops the High Street and the Markets. These are not just mannequins, but also figures rising over the shops in the … Continue reading

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