It is the provocative dichotomy that exists between a traditional silk kimono and the lyrics to Tupac’s “Never Call U Bitch Again.” The undiluted allure of femininity and the misogyny that is deeply embedded within some of hip hop’s finest lyrics has been captured by Zoe Buckman with her latest body of work, “Every Curve.” By embroidering vintage pieces of lingerie with lyrics about women from the mouths of Tupac and Biggie, Buckman snatched the female bodies depicted in hip hop songs from the legends of the genre and gave them back to their original owners – women.
When absorbing her work, I am struck by some lyrics about cumming in a woman’s eye that are sewn onto the seat of silk panties.The act of ejaculating on a sexual partner’s face is typically regarded as an act of ownership and is definitely used as a status symbol in Biggie’s “Dead Wrong.” Once spat from Lord Biggie’s mouth and now emblazoned on the ass of fine underpinnings, the power has been taken from the masculine and placed in the hands of the fairer sex. As a spectator, I digest the words from songs I adore sewn onto the most intimate piece of clothing a female can wear as an act of divinity. It is the beauty of indulging in a favored genre of music while being empowered by every inch of your womanhood. Buckman shared her influence for this collection of art with The Aesthete last year, stating “As I grew up, I noticed that I’d be dancing to a Biggie song and I’d think, wow, those lyrics are not cool. But I think if you can re-appropriate it, in the end you are winning.”
Yeah, some of Biggies and Tupac’s lyrics aren’t cool. But, some were pretty alright. And political correctness aside, the influence, artistic merit and beauty of the hip hop genre is undeniable. To experience “Every Curve” in person, visit Los Angeles’ Papillion Gallery between now and April 30th.