E.V. Day’s “fighter thongs” add new meaning to the word girl power
By Lauren Parker
Any woman who doesn’t know the power of a thong hasn’t flashed one lately. That little strip of fabric goes a long way to notch up a woman’s sexual strength, and this fact isn’t lost on artist E.V. Day, who fashioned 200 thongs into fighter planes for G-Force, a 40-foot-high installation at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, New York. The artist got the idea to “set thongs in flight” when she started seeing them peek out from women’s low-rider clothing—as if they were bursting forth from their physical and social confines. “It’s so ironic. People say they wear thongs because they offer less of a panty line, but now it seems they show even more. They wrap around the hip and literally fly out of your pants,” says Day, an admitted non-thong-wearer who insists her work isn’t about the power of sexuality, but rather the power of the props of sexuality. “I transform the thong into a phallic jet fighter.”
To create her G-string jets, Day dips them in polyurethane resin then stretches them into sleek, metaphorical “weapons of war.” She then positions them in formation and anchors them to the floor and ceiling with monofilament, essentially catching them in mid-flight and creating a visual trajectory. To prepare for these provocative works, Day peppers her Brooklyn studio with pictures of fighter planes and then makes drawings and studies using traditional blueprint techniques, even using architectural “handwriting” in the information bars. “I play with the language of architecture and construction, as well as the formality of it all. Where the information bar leaves a blank space for Point of View, it refers to orientation or geographic perspective, but I’ll write something like ‘Disturbed.’
“Architecture has always been a language of authority,” Day continues. “It’s interesting to take something as frivolous as the thong and put it through this whole process.” Frivolous? Millions of thong-wearers and the men who love them would beg to differ.