JF: There are workers who sell their underwear. There’s a whole subculture of underwear apparel in the pornographic industry in which you could, through a financial transaction, acquire the clothes.
Really? Actually many people ask me for money, to see how much they can get. I say I don’t have any. This work is not about making money, it’s about meaning. I could buy new underwear and fake it, but people are so tired of simulations. Many artists are afraid to involve society or strangers. They may comment on culture by using images from the media, but they end up reinforcing these images.
JF: There is a disturbing gender politics present here in your role as a man asking women for their panties. In one sense, women choose to participate by their own volition, they are not intimidated into accepting your invitation. Yet even though there is this consensual aspect, the focus on women’s clothing, bodies and secretions parallels cultural currents that are ist, if not also misogynist.
If women aren’t happy in doing this, then they don’t do it. I don’t believe in the kind of politics where one side profits and the other side loses. In this situation both men and women benefit and can have pleasure.
JD: Underwear has become a prominent element in the last decade through the fashion spectacles of Madonna’s costumes, Calvin Klein’s ads, and so on. How do you position yourself to the fashion industry?
As people are more conscious about displaying, they are also afraid. Underwear, to me, is still a private thing. My impression about people who are into fashion is that they have a strong desire for security. They have to rely upon someone else to establish beauty for themselves.
JF: What is the profile of the typical woman who contributes underwear?
Over twenty-five years old, independent, confident about her life, with a very positive attitude. She may not wear very up-to-date fashions, but she will show more interest, more curiosity.
JD: A lot of early feminist work dealt overtly with bodily fluids, tampons, menstruation. Have you been influenced by the body politics of feminism?
There are so many different feminisms that it’s difficult to say. I did my undergraduate study in sociology. I work more with ideas about perception, ideas that are not necessarily connected to art. The art world is a good place to make propositions, but I don’t need to be in it. Art provides a wider context for understanding.
Resource: Wall Art Blog