Veil

Part of the umbrella project Mappa Corpo, this composition for Veil was inspired by the 1651 frontispiece by Thomas Bartolin which depicts the flayed skin of a man hung across two hooks on the architrave of an entrance. His book contained detailed drawings of the inner workings of the body and so, to see the insides, one simply needed to lift the skin.
This skin, “Veil”, had been silently watching every day of the Show. It was time to talk. Continues below gallery…
Click on image to enlarge…

Veil is a photographic flaying of Roy’s skin after painting. It was hung across the natural proscenium of the exhibition room to reflect the hanging of the flayed human skin in Bartolini’s Frontispiece.

The Mappa Corpo project overall was inspired by the work of Enrico Job in 1974.

The palette is based on the ancient humoral fluids – black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm, on one side with their complementary colours on the other side. This implies in/outside of the body, with the complementary colours being more often associated with the landscape. The visual language was inspired by the Harlequin in Michel Serres’ story “The Troubadour of Knowledge”, which also inspired Orlan’s 2008 work, “Harlequin Coat”. The skin therefore appears carnivalesque despite its initial macabre reading. The story of Serres’ Harlequin resonates with this work – the removal of the harlequin’s coat reveals an androgyne body that blurs the traces of identity.

Veil is about the revealing/concealing property of the skin. It conceals who we are, but yet signifies us in many ways, maybe due to how we project onto our skins who we want to be. Veil tries to show the inside on the outside, to reveal the inner by opening the skin envelope and to encourage detailed inspection. The skin has become a membrane.

Thanks to Luke M. Walker for taking these shots, and thanks to Roy Joseph Butler for providing his skin, and to Dean Ashton for construction assistance.

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