At His Majesty’s Pleasure
This intricate charcoal drawing transforms the body's configuration through costume. In their drawings, the collaborative duo VOW playfully explores the contrast between hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine figuration. The artists' drawings create a third space that challenges the very concept of this duality. Hidden behind elaborate garments and mysterious theatrical cloaks, their royal-like figures elude the viewer's direct gaze—and escape any narrow interpretation of their being. VOW creates an alternate reality in which genders are blended and social statuses redefined; their work depicts figures freed from the norms and conventions of our world.
VOW looks to the history of theater, pageantry and ceremony in order to dissect the constructive and protective nature of dress. Their work explores themes of body transformation and protection through ornamentation—drawing influence from René Lalique’s glass designs and contemporary fashion, among other sources. VOW's work explores how costume can become like armor, shielding the body as well as empowering it. The artists work with heavyweight paper, repetitively sanding it down and re-coating it with layers of charcoal in a process that reflects their interest in body encasement and transfiguration.
The collaborative duo known as The Velvet Other World (VOW) creates intricate drawings that explore themes of transformation and protection. VOW repetitively sands down heavyweight paper and then recoats it with layers of charcoal—a process that reflects their depiction of bodies transfigured by armor and other encasements. Inspired by fetish fashion, queer photography and art deco glassworks, VOW’s drawings combine broad yet distinctive visual influences with an idiosyncratic technical language.