Contemporary miniature artists, whose work comprises a wide array of media and subject matter, typically shrink the piece no more than a 1:24 scale of the original subject. Working in a small scale gives the opportunity to create something that is both ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ at the same time. Conversely, the creation of small worlds gives us the illusion of control. In a world that grows ever more faster and chaotic, in a world in which we are bombarded with imagery, artworks in small scales allow us a place of retreat, where time has stopped. The miniatures in the terrifying film Hereditary serve a similar purpose, to represent the lack of control that the Graham family members have over their fates.
The miniatures are the perfect paradoxical symbol—they unthreateningly put the viewer/artist in control, but simultaneously highlight the fact that our lives are ultimately governed and shaped by unknown forces. This contradiction confronts us with a truth that’s both “weird and eerie,” and consequently leaves us freaked the F out. The dollhouse, which is an exact mini model of the Preaker family manor in which it’s housed, appears symbolically throughout the show Sharp Objects.
Despite the cuteness of miniatures, we’re left with uneasy feelings, because we’re confronted with the fact that in the end, we’re all just dolls in a dollhouse and we don’t know who (or what) is playing with us.