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We Are All Globs of Human Wax Waiting To Collapse in the Photos of Yuki Kasaï-Paré

The photographer’s new series questions our infatuation with wax and our own impermanence.

by Aidan Johnston
Aug 24 2018, 2:52pm

All photos by Yuki Kasaï-Paré.

Bonding over our common love for skating, art, fashion and cool, weird shit, VICE and Vans partnered to launch Unbound—a series that enables emerging Canadian creatives to work on what they love.

What’s more unsettling about wax museums: the eternally chapped smiles of the figures in them or that paying to see beeswax sculpted busts of Tom Hanks in Cast Away is still a viable business? Despite it’s uncanny look and quality, there’s something that continues to inexplicably draw people to this strange and pliable substance in all its shapes and forms. For Montreal based photographer Yuki Kasaï-Paré, an infatuation with wax and our relationship to it began when she took notice of wax content proliferating in her social feeds.

“My explore page on Instagram is filled with waxing videos. I don't know if its ASMR or something salons are just doing,” she says over the phone. “There's these 15 second makeup videos where girls put wax on their face to make like a different nose.”

Led into a veritable wax wormhole, Kasaï-Paré found herself obsessing over the appeal and dualities of the substance that appears both organically and as a synthetic industrial material.

“I started thinking about the uncanniness of wax and how proximate it is to our lives. It’s so malleable, and I feel like we sometimes want to be like that. Wax just embodies a lot of what we aspire to be.”

For her latest photo series, “40°C”—the temperature at which wax melts—the photographer takes the metaphor “I feel like I’m melting” to its literal conclusion, imagining a shadeless suburban paradise/hellscape where people can no longer maintain their given shapes and forms. As fingers and faces are garishly reshaped in the cheerful midday sunshine, Kasaï-Paré leaves us contemplating our own ever degrading wax-like bodies, and the horrors that await if the AC unit at Madame Tussaud’s Royal British Tea gallery ever breaks down.

Check out more photos below.