The Wax Series

Wax is the latest project by Vasilisa Forbes which takes explicit, hyper-sexualised visuals inspired by contemporary advertising and Pop Art, to generate a dialogue on women's representation in public media and the arts.

#WAXCHICK series images directly address the issue of female representation in the public realm - the appearance and projection of women in advertisements and public presence: the way they are styled, stylised and presented in terms of physical appearance, dress, attitude to the camera, attitude to the viewer.
The artworks are an important discussion on the male-directed gaze of adverts generated predominantly by large corporations; perpetuating the view-point of the straight, male, gaze. The adverts we often see present a view through the conventional, often misogynistic male eye only: and in this way sexualising the female body or pacifying the female personality to become a stylised image constantly re-used for the purpose of selling, attracting the straight-male attention, and using sex to sell.

The images created by Vasilisa for the WAX series make subversive commentary on this: encouraging viewer interaction & encouraging an unsettling emotional response by re-creating conventionally sexualised images to a dramatised extent to pose a question to the public viewer - is this something you are prepared to accept? or will this sort of imagery be challenged? How far can we go within the advertising realm - how much can we show, what are the boundaries that companies are prepared to put forward and how does this effect the everyday-viewer who is subjected to this repetitive, overpowering, forced media.
She references artists like Allen Jones in her work to analyse the way an image of a woman by a man vs an image of a woman by a woman in the same sexualised context is received - is our understanding of misogyny and the ‘male-gaze’ so internalised that we are prepared, as women to objectify ourselves through our choice of clothing and self-presentation.
With WAX, the lead image of the series starts with 'Wax Woman As Table' which was shown across a selection of London billboards to become a direct comment on its source (commercial imagery).

Following a discussion with artist Allen Jones who is famous for his table sculptures, Vasilisa decided to raise the question of ownership of the female body by creating a direct link with Allen's work through posing herself as table in a self-portrait. This opened up a series of self portraits titled WAX, a short film exploring female sexuality vs male dominance and a series of images titled Disarchy which deconstruct the 'photoshop-perfection' of the WAX series.
WAX raises a discussion of the visual identity of capitalist selling, objectification of the female body and the impact of popular-culture images of women. The fact we see these images projected in large format across the London cityscape directly addresses the public and our perception of public-to-private art, as well as notions of street art display against advertising. The WAX images address questions in young women of 'taking back ownership of the body' and how women choose to present it.

With this, the WAX series took to the street to pose a question to modern viewers - can a woman objectify herself and what is the difference?
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 women 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.

Vasilisa Forbes 2018