Skin Deep


 A photographic and sound installation and Book.

December 2006

Prior to the 18th century, the human soul was thought to reside in the skin. Flaying was therefore the worse form of punishment.  The skin was also understood as an important place for medicinal treatment for all kinds of ailments. With the advent of modern science, medicine and anatomy, the skin was relegated to its’ role as a somewhat fragile yet impenetrable boundary, a barrier, a container, a traveling bag for our existence. Nevertheless, it still remained a major object for the projection of our aggressive, nurturing, and sexual impulses. Color of skin is still a source of prejudice; and smooth skin, a fetishized object.

Much of contemporary art treats the surface of the body as a place of wounds, stigmatization and shame, or as a stage for narcissistic and voyeuristic spectacle. In this body of work I am focusing on human skin as a mediator of human communication. We make decisions about each other with in seconds based on the appearance of our skin and we continuously reassess these according to the changes in our skin. The challenge in this work was to avoid the spectacular and the obvious exteriority of the body. At what distance do we switch from exteriority to interiority? The photographs of skin are presented as a projection accompanied by a sound tract and in a book form printed on soft banner material. The photos purposely avoid body landmarks as reference points to force the viewer to focus on the image. Their abstract quality are meant to confront us with the act of seeing and to refer us back to our bodies and skin. The sound tract of skin sounds is equally abstract yet vaguely recognizable. The interplay between the larger than life projections and the personal tactile experience of the pages in the book contrast the public and private aspects of skin.