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And through the downcast lashes
I see the dull flame of desire

- Björk

Fun fact about the piece

It was actually not directly Björk who inspired this piece, but Virginie Ropars' piece The Dull Flame, that was inspired by Björk. It was all quite a concidence that one day, visiting the amazing Strychnin Gallery(now unfortunately closed), I came across Ropars' beatiful work. It was love at first sight. She was then working on The Dull Flame, listening non stop to Björk's The Dull Flame of Desire. I didn't love Björk backthen as much as I do now (I mainly knew her because of Matmos and their work Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein), but listening to that song got me started down the rabbit hole of her world. This chain of coincidence eventually gave birth to dull flame of desire.

Some words about the subject

dull flame of desire takes a less romatic and more passionate approach on the subject desire in Fyodor Tyutchev(Фёдор Тютчев)'s I love your eyes, my friend(Люблю глаза твои, мой друг...). The original poem doesn't really talk about desire, but about love, the sort of romatic fairy tale love that results from literally looking into one's beloved eyes and fills the world with light. If you happen to read russian you might want to take a look into the original poem. This gap between how I preceive Björk's and Tyutchev's approach made me ask myself the question, is that how I feel dull desire? The answer was this piece, which is a 'well..yes and no'.

dull flame of desire borrows with the latex outfit a bit of the BDSM aesthetic that I associate more strongly with carnal desire, with burning lust and with dulling restraint. This is why dull flame of desire has an in appearance dark aura around it. The piece is however, a bit more than a figurine about a latex wearing figure and is more an allegory of restraint burning desire, the kind of desire that clouds the mind, turning people into lust beasts.

dull flame of desire introduces a form of less physical and more spiritual restrain, as you would expect it from a BDSM piece, since the headpiece alludes to the attires of dutch nuns. This, in a way is also a form of burning desire, let me explain. A nun, married to God, is expected to turn away from the pleasures of the flesh and instead turn her fervor to her faith and belief. This desire for the the beloved one, in this particular case God, is aswell the subject of dull flame of desire.

And now that we are talking about nuns. Remember the discussion in western cultures about the treatment of women in Islam and their subjugation with hijab and a burka? Isn't that exacly what the role of nun's robe? As countless porn movies (especially 80's - 90's vintage ones) testify, this form of restrain has a long reach, turning the desiring object itself into an object of desire, perhaps this, is the nature of an omnipresent voyeurism, burning through the downcast lashes.

A summary for collectors:

dull flame of desire

epoxy clay · latex · hair · metal · acrylics · wood
height aprox. 60 cm
2015
available on Etsy