The Skin I Live In
by Camila Straschnoy
For a while I’ve been noticing a growing conversation around the SKIN as a topic in the arts and design world. As every other creative being, I absorb all this information and, at a certain point, it evolves into the construction of a thought or an actual materialization that gathers all these ideas. SKIN resulted in a new art series that I unveiled the first week of December, and will be uploaded on the ART section soon (It would be good to updated as there are only three pieces of my extensive body of work! Oops!).
I started thinking of SKIN and all what this means. Skin is the largest organ of our bodies, is the limit between that which is private and the public aspect of the being. While doing some research for my art work I found several examples of how intriguing the SKIN theme is to many designers.
Is this related at any point to the BIOWEAR trend? I think it is…
Tina Gorjanc’s (author of the video shown above) work particularly caught my attention while doing my research. She is a graduate from The Central Saint Martins who believes that advances in tissue-engineering technology could create a highly lucrative and hitherto untapped niche within the luxury market. Her fashion collection released earlier this year, Pure Human, consists of a range of leather prototypes that she theorizes could be grown from DNA extracted from hair samples of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
“Pure Human is a critical design project that also highlights the major legal loopholes around the protection of biological information, particularly in Great Britain,” Ms. Gorjanc said at her end-of-year show.
Her mock-up collection of stylish biker jackets and totes is, at this stage, made out of pigskin. The flesh-toned pieces bore freckles, sunburn and tattoo etchings that matched those once found on Mr. McQueen’s body. A lock of his hair, which came from strands that Mr. McQueen had sewn into items in his 1992 Central Saint Martins graduate collection, entitled “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims,” and skinlike samples from earlier laboratory tests were encased in glass cabinets close by.
Though Ms. Gorjanc cannot patent Mr. McQueen’s DNA itself, she can apply to patent his genetic information samples as the source for a procedure that would result in laboratory-grown leather made from human tissue. This involves taking Mr. McQueen’s DNA from a hair sample, then transplanting it into stem cells and then multiplying those cells.
The British designer Gigi Barker created the handmade ‘skin stool’ and ‘skin chair’ to recreate the sensation of sitting on a naked body. ‘A body of skin’ by studio 9191 is a furniture collection that explores the intricate subtleties and varieties of the skin surface and the volumes of the flesh.The structure is accompanied by leather applied through classic upholstery techniques such pattern cutting, buttoning, and molding that provides a potential familiarity and, thus, a more subtle visual impact.The silicone is mixed with human pheromones and aftershave so the seats have the smell of skin as well as the appearance.
Lucy Glendinning is a british contemporary sculptor and installation artist, whose work is expressed with the form of the human body. For Glendinning, art is the primary tool for investigating psychological and philosophical themes.
Skins 2 is installation is not longer in a form that we recognize as human but we still see its human aspect by the choice of color.
“My work is about identity and how it is constructed within and without the individual”
Skin, a piece Sarah has been working on, on and off, for nine years. The piece created simulates a real size woman’s skin made from approximately 400,000 tiny glass beads and nylon thread; it hangs from the ceiling like a garment on molded acrylic shoulders.
Anomaly, the project created by Moroso, is full of contradictions, halfway between visionary manipulation of a body and a design of a household pet-object. The choice of natural coloured leather could be interpreted as an ambiguous and mysterious zoomorphic transformation or, more simply, the colours can be taken as reminders of the warm, reassuring tones of face powder. Household creatures which are as lovable as they are surprising, a transfiguration from a fairytale, almost surreal, world which combines in one object practicality and playful excitement.
This piece of furniture was created by Nanna Kill, one of the students participating in The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design exhibition. They showed 14 pieces of furniture, designed by selected students in a project called “The New Textile Furniture”.
This chair, is based on the concept “less is a bore” by using foam as the main upholstery. The intention is to explore the balance between the repulsive and the accommodating through voluminous curves. The shaping reflects undesirable human overweight as an aesthetics impetus, combined with a pleasant appearance in bright and soft materials that leads the user to be embraced by comfortable volumes.
“The meaning of objects is closely connected to our sense of the body.”
While on the one hand we cannot help but take charge of the body of the object while we design, on the other cannot avoid transcending it in forms that go beyond their mere material evidence. This phenomenological dualism of the useful object, simultaneously immanent and transcendent, reflects the phenomenological dualism of the human body. Our body, too, is both a ‘thing,’ a piece of material subject to inertia and gravity, and a sentient device, open to the world.
Let’s see where this SKIN takes us! Stay tuned for more trends and my skin art work.