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BillyBoy* Part Deux

Carlos King

In 1997, BillyBoy* and Lala JP Lestrade create the Fondation Tanagra, a cultural, non-profit Fondation association based in Switzerland. Its goals are the preservation and conservation of BillyBoy*'s high fashion collection and fashion documentation, as well as a vast ensemble of fashion dolls and antique doll’s houses and toys. The Fondation Tanagra also promotes contemporary artists works such as Jean Marc Dallanégra and TV star turned painter Eve Plumb (BB*'s great friend) star of the iconic “Brady Bunch” television series in the USA in the 1970s. The Fondation Tanagra holds important archives and extensive collection of Mdvanii and family dolls and artworks by BillyBoy* and Lala.

BillyBoy* and Lala organize at Le Palace in Lausanne en 1998 and at Hotel Beau Rivage Palace in 1999 two exhibitions of couture jewelry and Surreal Bijoux by BillyBoy* to the benefit of the newly created Fondation Tanagra. At the Beau Rivage, American artist Eve Plumb, friend of BB* and Lala presented for the first time in Switzerland her paintings which were also featured in the Fondation Tanagra's site.

1998- 2000: Hardly installed in their new home  BillyBoy* and Lala pursue an active creation in the world of Mdvanii. Between 1997 and 2000 several important collections are created which mark a turning point in the evolution of Mdvanii and her tribe. Her influence is strongly felt amongst the arts and also amongst doll collectors, both commercial manufacturers and hobbyists/copyists. Mdvanii influences an entire generation of people interested in dolls. For the first time also five Mademoiselle Mdvanii, the 70 centimeters version in porcelain, are shown in Tokyo (1998), followed by several other exhibitions: "Teenage" (1998), "Is The Doll World Ready For A Little Discipline?"(1998, shown on the site) (1998), "Intro Spectrum" (2000) with several other limited series exclusive to SW Japan.

In 2000-2001, the artists had an exposition at the most important Science Fiction museum in the world, La Maison d’Ailleurs in Yverdon-Les-Bains, Switzerland titled “Mdvanii, Memories from Earth - The artworks of BillyBoy* and Lala". It was curated by the museum's chief curator, historian and author, Patrick Gyger, also the artists friend. This important exhibition features the most recent futuristic Mdvanii artworks (photography, paintings, drawings and sculptures) as well as BillyBoy*’s early works (Mister Modern collages, and paintings). It is also the first time that the Mdvanii work is acknowledged as the osmosis work of BillyBoy* and Lala. 

The book by Archipel published by the University of Lausanne titled “Homographies” includes “Cut Grass” a short story by BillyBoy* (story on this website under ARTICLES). The book's cover features a drawing by BillyBoy*, homoerotic in subject, it was a drawing that was shown at La Maison d'Ailleurs titled "Two Boys Adopting a Meta-Form".

2003 : Exhibition titled “25 Portraits de Femmes” by BillyBoy* in Tokyo, Japan. 

Creation for the Swiss fashion magazine EDELWEISS of an monthly exclusive limited series of friendly-priced Surreal Bijoux de BillyBoy* for 18 months, to the benefit of the Fondation Tanagra. The creation proposed in the month preceeding the declaration of war in Iraq by George Bush is a silvered skull ring with a "NO" sign hanging from a cord. This controversial, but publically approved gesture received great publicity in the media.

2004: exhibition “Poupées” at La Halle Saint Pierre museum in Paris: 100 pieces of BillyBoy* & Lala art works and creations are featured in the exhibition, including: Mdvanii, Zibbi, Mademoiselle Rivière, La Petite fille modèle, as well as photographs and paintings. The exhibition book/catalogue titled “Poupées” (Albums Haute Enfance, Gallimard, Paris) includes texts by writers Martine Desbioles, Colette Fellous, Pierre Péju, Chantal Thomas, Allen S. Weiss.

2005: BillyBoy* writes a series of short stories illustrated by oil crayon drawings titled “Liquid Screen in 19 Short Stories” which are published in book form with illustrations using his paintings.

In 2005 also:  exhibition Cyber Sexual Mdvanii and the Temples of Fusion” at the Galerie Le Déco in Tokyo. Publication by the Editions Fondation Tanagra of the limited-edition four books boxed giftset “Temples de Fusion” including “Liquid Screen In 19 Short Stories” (Limited edition 250 examples).

2006: BillyBoy* finally finishes his long-time research book on the life and work of Elsa Schiaparelli. This book includes his experiences with Marlene Dietrich, Arletty, Erté, Suzy de L’Air, Annabella, Diego Giacometti, Jean Schlumberger, Givenchy and many other French designers, and many other important celebrities he’d befriended over the years.


November 2006 - February 2007, exhibition Mdvanii, Ceci n’est pas une poupée” . Artworks by BillyBoy* and Lala in two different museums of Lausanne: the mudac (museum of Design and Contemporary Arts) - the small "m" is deliberate in spelling the name of this acknowledged museum) and Musée de l’Elysée (the world-famous photography museum). The 80-page catalogue called "BillyBoy" & Lala" featuring the two exhibitions, with interview of the artists, a BB* short story from "Liquid Screen in 19 Short Stories", list of all the artworks in both exhibitions, many colour illustrations and texts by the museums curators is published by In Folio, Editeur, Paris.


2007: in July, "Out of the Blue" Cyber Sexual Mdvanii exhibition at the Gallery Le Déco presented by Sumiko Watanabe.


BillyBoy* and Lala, with the sponsorship of The Fondation Tanagra, are associated to the Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival (L.U.F.F.) for their special 2007 Edition featuring movies from the Andy Warhol's Factory Era: With exceptional appearances of Superstars Holly Woodlawn accompanied by Robert Coddington (who both lived with BB* & Lala while they were in Switzerland), Mary WoronovBibbe Hansen with the participation of BillyBoy*(Warhol’s "last Superstar" by Warhol's own declaration). They gave lectures and a conference together on their Warhol years at the infamous Factory. All of this was captured on film for an up-coming full-length documentary on Mdvanii, and the work and careers of BillyBoy* and Lala, and also another for Swiss television and the internet, filmed at the same time.

BillyBoy* & Lala invented back in 1989 a new artistic concept: the MDVANIIISM. Mdvanii, the doll artwork once defined as a "Sculpture With A Lifestyle" has been portrayed since her conception and creation, through many different artistic mediums: doll artworks of course, but also photography, paintings, drawings, installations, literature, poetry. 



A MDVANIIISM is a creative process which includes in his realisation the spirit of Mdvanii at large and, just as any artistic movement defined by an ISM (impressionism, cubism, surrealism), Mdvanii has achieved her own ISM. Thusly, a sculpture shaped, as we are going to see, as a house on Mdvanii's scale, is not a doll house for Mdvanii, but an artistic form linked, in one way or another, to Mdvanii: a Mdvaniiism is an independant artwork which expresses the essence of Mdvanii without needing her material representation for it .

2008: In January  BillyBoy* et Lala celebrate at Studios Dinemec in Gland (Switzerland) the release of Lala's album "Succès damnés - The Lost Album" and the release of the video of his song "Edie Superstar". Sponsored by Dom Perignon champagne, the best champagne in the world!

Also in January, BillyBoy* and Lala are featured in the issue N° 3 of the Lausanne-based magazine SANG BLEU, which also includes an article of BillyBoy* on Diamonds called "The Diamond and I"..

On the occasion of the March 13th 2008 Nuit du Quartier des Bains in Geneva, Switzerland, "Chez Soi, The Liquid Screen House of Tomorrow" Un Mdvaniiisme de BillyBoy* & Lala" in collaboration with furniture designer Philippe Cramer was shown at Cramer + Cramer, the designer's showroom. BillyBoy*'s paintings and sculptures were shown with the Mdvanii works as part of her world. The work represented two futuristic dolls houses conceived by BillyBoy*  modeled on his paintings and the designer created the interiors. One was called "Chez Soi - Jour" and the other "Chez Soi - Nuit".

2009: In March 2009, BillyBoy* & Lala did three performances at Flux Laboratory, Carouge, Geneva. The exhibition was called "IDENTITY: WAS BILLYBOY* BARBIE'S BE-ATCH?" 

Read more about it on Mdvanii Wikipedia.


2010: BillyBoy* & Lala decide the creation of a new site for the Fondation Tanagra with webmaster and friend Thierry Hefti.

They realize the video "L'amour n'a pas de prix" with Erivan Dantas for a song from Lala's album, which features early Haute Couture Mdvanii resin dolls in the doll's house created by Jacques Grange for the BillyBoy*, Nouveau Théatre de la Mode. The video was launched at friend Diane Pernet's "A Shaded View on Fashion Film" film Festival. (see in MODE - Homage to Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent)


2011: In August, BillyBoy* & Lala leave the Canton de Vaud and chose the city of  Delémont, capital of the Republic and Canton of Jura in Switzerland. They chose this city to settle down and to work on their museum project.

Exhibition MDVANII, CECI N'EST PAS UNE POUPEE, BillyBoy* in the streets of Lausanne. Photo Lala, 1996

Exhibition MDVANII, CECI N'EST PAS UNE POUPEE, BillyBoy* in the streets of Lausanne. Photo Lala, 1996

For the re-opening of the historic museum of the city, Musée Jurassien d'Art et d'Histoire, BillyBoy* & Lala offer to the museum via the City's Mayor Pierre Kohler, the painting "Mdvanii Osmose".

2012: BillyBoy* & Lala  marry at the Hôtel de Ville of  Delémont on February 6, 2012. They are the first gay couple to make their union public in the Canton du Jura.

- Exhibition "Maison Mdvanii - Oeuvres choisies 1989-2012" at Espace Artsenal in Delémont (May 25-June 18: see on

- BillyBoy* & Lala curate the exhibition of Aldo Lanzini at Galerie Bovée in Delémont June 1 to June 30 - See article in ART on

- Creation of the three artworks in the form of wedding cakes called "Célébration" entirely in knit and crochet, with the collaboration of the ladies from the Café Tricot club of Delémont. These cakes were a highlight of the parade for the  Jura Gay Pride on June 30th in  Delémont (SEE article in CULTURE,

President Obama  "Once Cent - Big Change" : BillyBoy* & Lala have created an artwork in the form of a jewel to express their support for President Obama's views on Gay Marriage and same sex partnerships. His expression of equal rights for the LGBTQ community is a precedent in American history.

This jewel represents is the one cent copper coin magnified as a Pop art sized medaillion, on which the effigy of President Lincoln (which was also created by Billyboy* & Lala), known in history to have abolished slavery, has been replaced by the profile of President Obama, while the mention Liberty 1972, written on the original coin has been changed into Liberty 2012. Also featured in, in ART.

POUPEES, Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, one of the two posters,2004. With Mdvanii TRIBAL MUSK and DISCIPLINE .

POUPEES, Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, one of the two posters,2004. With Mdvanii TRIBAL MUSK and DISCIPLINE.