WAXCHICK – Vasilia Forbes

Can a woman objectify herself?

WAX starts the discussion of the visual identity of capitalist selling through ‘mystification and production of glamour’, objectification of the body and the impact of historical images of vanity, as we see these images projected in large format across the London cityscape. The ‘photoshop-perfect’ WAX images take cues from historical portraits, (which reference the art-worlds usage of objects as presentations of glamour) and through this the objectification shown in Wax becomes directly sexual and immediately a comment on the ‘woman’s role’ and part she plays in advertising items, including within art works.

Vasilisa’s aim is to create a sensation of ‘power play’ with the historical ideal of how woman should be presented in an image, and the modern aspiration of young women, including the element of aggressive sexuality and male fantasy to fuel the actions behind the poses in the series. The WAX images raise questions in young women of ‘taking back ownership of the body’ and choosing to present it in various ways; against a dominating backdrop of idealised feminine beauty and fantasies. The female appears as the object of various ideals, subjected to impressions from the world of exterior perversions, ideals of feminine appearance, and the aspiration of the so-called ‘female body’. These works create questions through their subversive presence; can I – as a female artist – raise attention to female objectification in advertising and male-directed imagery of women by posing myself through such a light, in the various guises of male fantasy to raise a discussion on how we can alter, remove and bring awareness to this kind of mis-use of the female body.

HER – continues the discussion on female use of the body in a visual, fashion-focused culture; where female sexuality and vulnerability are dictated by the power of marketing. The HER images both question the industry’s suppression of the ‘real woman’ and the generation/usage of perversions or fantasies to dictate the woman’s role, perceived presence or personality. Her passivity vs her human involvement in a photographic image as subject is brought into question and posed to the audience. Many images in this series have received worried reactions – claims of sexism have been scrawled across the images while a feeling of guilt and discomfort has lingered in the voyeur. Do we immediately judge these images to be directed by a male eye?


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