Underpants (1998)

White cotton underwear with blue fabric paint
9” x 12” x .5”

In this series, I made a list of things I like and hand painted the short phrases onto 31 pairs of simple white cotton women’s underwear. As my starting point in this project, I was thinking of the sets of underwear typically manufactured for young girls that have the days of the week printed on them. I was also reading the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon and was struck by how the writer reveals herself through a catalog of her observances, likes and dislikes. By creating a set of underwear that lists things I like, I was attempting to supplant the impersonal (mass produced underwear that now reminds me of the tyranny of time) with the personal and individual. As Roland Barthes writes, “J’aime, je n’aime pas—I like, I don’t like...This is of no importance to anyone; this, apparently, has no meaning. And yet all this means: my body is not the same as yours.”