»The Skin I Live In« (La piel que habito) is the title of a Spanish film by Pedro Almodóvar from 2011. In this thriller, a plastic surgeon cultivates an artificial skin resistant to burns after his wife was badly burnt in a car crash and commits suicide, because she can’t stand her own appearance. He is testing his invention on a young woman named Vera, who he keeps in his house and has a sexual relationship with. Vera was once a man transformed into a woman by the surgeon, with the face of his former wife. The thriller’s plot is built around the skin as a metaphor for human vulnerability and identity highlighting the importance of skin in relation to our image.
The skin is our shield. When we get injured, its fragility becomes visible. At the same time it can be a prison that we are trapped in; especially when we don’t feel comfortable inside it. This may be because of it’s color, it’s gender, it’s age or because of blemishes. For decades the industry has recognized it’s importance, which seems to grow everyday, when looking at digital and social media.
The web is not only full of commercials for products, promising a flawless look, it is also replete with Make-up and Beauty tutorials: How to contour and highlight your face like Kim Kardashian, female-to-male make-up transformation (or the other way around) and even race change make-up transformation. Make-up has become the most powerful tool when it comes to creating our superficial persona. In highly glossed videos (mostly) women from all over the world reveal their beauty-secrets, talk about their skincare routine and teach us how to enhance our natural beauty. It is the natural look, that rules. Flawless, glowing, dewy skin is a must have.
In many campaigns ‚imperfect‘ is claimed to be the new perfect. Winnie Harlow became an icon of this movement. The model suffers from vitiligo, a chronic skin condition characterized by parts of the skin losing it’s pigment. Despite having what would traditionally have been considered a flaw Harlow has experienced much praise and success as a model.
One highly utilized substance in cosmetic products is silicone. Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone or Amodimethicone as it appears in shampoo, body lotion or foundation; making hair shiny and skin smooth. Silicone is a synthetic material that is often used to imitate skin, thus is it used in the production of sex toys and dolls.
The exhibition FLAWLESS is taking a look at the skin as a projection of capitalistic and media ideas of beauty, gender and ethnology.
Edi Danartono (*1986, Germany) is based in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. His main interest revolves around evolution, ethnology and anthropology. With his researched-based way of working, he explores issues of diversity. Danartono is currently participating in the in the 2015 Jakarta Biennial’s project Market Share, curated by Tobias Rehberger and Ade Darmawan.
After graduating from Städelschule as Willem de Rooij’s Meisterschülerin, Inga Danysz (*1990, Poland) currently lives and works in Amsterdam, where she is holding a stipend in De Ateliers until 2017. As part of her engagement with image production, Danysz chooses silicone as her working material. Poured in metal frames, she creates sleek and glossy, gradient colored or monochrome surfaces.
Ryan Karlsson (*1989, Sweden) is studying at Städelschule in the class of Michael Krebber. The Frankfurt based painter is dealing with the stamina of painting, artistic roleplaying and the performance of art works. His work refers to notions of beauty and Identity, which are anchored by media influence in society.
Natalia Rolón (*1981, Argentina) lives and works in Frankfurt, studying at Städelschule in the class of Michael Krebber. Originally coming from painting and drawing, Rolón explores the issues of female depiction through photography. Revisiting the tradition of plinths and pedestals, her installations relate to the commercial display of consumer goods and objects of desire.
The exhibition was made possible by the cultural office of the City of Frankfurt and Maecenia – Frankfurt Foundation for Women in the Arts and Sciences.
Images courtesy of the artists. Photos by Inga Danysz.
Edi Danartono, Inga Danysz, Ryan Karlsson, Natalia Rolón Venue: Husslehof Frankfurt
Curated by: Elena Frickmann
December 2 – December 14, 2015 !