For most people, drag queens are an exotic phenomenon restricted to the worlds of spectacle, fantasy and entertainment. Kings & Queens explores how drags challenge traditional gender definitions by showing that there’s much more to life than simply being a man or a woman.
But who are these drag queens? Who is the man behind the spectacular female display? How does one person become another one? And how does the other person relate to his own individual?
In order to get closer to drag queens’ identity beyond the exhibitionist extravaganza, Kings & Queens presents intimate portraits of fierce drag queens accompanied by their male half.
These portraits tell stories about gender, love, identity, sexual transcendence and even about the nature of man him—or her—self.
Léon Hendrickx is an Amsterdam-based artist and photographer. He started his photographic career as a university scholar, absorbing the theories of visual arts and photography at the University of Leiden and the Rijks Academy The Hague. In the meantime, he was taught the trade while working as an assistant to the artists and photographers of the Dutch fashion and advertising industry. This is where Hendrickx developed his interest and skills for the technical possibilities of photography and how he was able utilize the technology to make his dreams visually seem real.
On the topic of visual imagination, for Hendrickx, the possibilities seem endless. Being intrigued by the extraordinary, the bizarre and strange, yet fantastic, he is determined and exhaustive about the idea of ‘realness’ of his subjects. He wants to make sure that the viewer believes what he creates, whether what’s depicted is real or not. When this condition in his work is met, Hendrickx can get away with everything, which, of course, is wonderful.
In his series Kings & Queens, Hendrickx is struck by the art of drag. For him, drag means the becoming of another person; another character that resides inside oneself. How does someone like that relate to his own individual? Hendrickx found a specific way of portraying both persons in the same image, thereby showing how two characters, wrapped up in the same body, are intertwined.