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Underwear Exhibit Shows Artist's Take on Intimates as a 'Weapon'

By Shaye Weaver | March 2, 2016 2:39pm
 Czech artist Paulina Skavová's underwear features feathers and fur.
"Underwear 2016" is on display at the Czech Center.
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UPPER EAST SIDE — Czech artist Paulina Skavová's underwear is hanging in a gallery.

But it's not just any ordinary underwear — the pieces consist of 14 feathery bras and panties that she's created for her "Underwear 2016" exhibit.

Skavova's intimates, on display at the Czech Center of New York on East 73rd Street through March 30, are handcrafted out of feathers and fur from animals that her husband hunted in the Czech Republic, according to organizers.

She glued the feathers and fur together to form intricate patterns for a primitive look to the pieces.

Underwear 2016
Underwear 2016

Skavová, 40, said the underwear is meant to be a commentary on the power that women hold in their sexuality — that is is essentially a weapon that they keep hidden.

"It's about the role of women in this moment and how underwear can be their weapon and they have some power in their sexuality," she said. "Underwear is a bit of a sexual symbol and it could be an artifact."

Each of her pieces are set behind glass in frames like "a collection of butterflies" or "as artifacts in some collection," which creates a confrontation of the past and the present, she said.

Skavová also created a bronze sculpture of herself to place one of her underwear sets on, but the statue won't be on display at the exhibit.

Her work deals with femininity and feminism but does so in a very refreshing and optimistic way, without any hidden anger, according to a Czech Center spokeswoman.

The Prague native said that she started creating her collection in 2002 and has continued making the feathery underwear as a way to relax and now it's on display.

"I guess I can say that my underwear is hanging in a gallery," she said.

"Underwear 2016" is Skavova's debut in the United States. The gallery at 321 E. 73rd St. is free and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.