The Royal Art Lodge
Deriving its name and inspiration from Roald Dahl's chilling short story 'Skin', the artist involves thirty-one artists designing a tattoo for thirtyâ€“one recipients. The original artwork will be on display in the tattoo studio and there will be the opportunity to watch as they are transferred on to the skin.
Deriving its name and inspiration from Roald Dahlâ€™s chilling short story, â€œSkin,â€ Chaim Soutine involves thirty-one artists designing a tattoo for thirty â€“one recipients. The narrative revolves around a man called Drioli, who in his youth had asked an artist, Chaim Soutine to paint on his back a picture of his wife so that it could be transferred as a tattoo. Years later, his wife dead and his business in ruin, Drioliâ€™s life is one of poverty and destitution. While roaming the streets he happens upon an exhibition by Chaim Soutine, who has now found international recognition. He enters the gallery and displays his original work of art and from the amazed crowd a few offers are made to purchase the work. One man offers to pay for a major skin-grafting operation, while another simply asks Drioli to come and live at his hotel (the Bristol in Cannes) and exhibit the painting to his guests. Drioli chooses the latter. Not long after this a strange painting by Soutine shows up for sale in Buenos Aires. The narrator concludes by telling us, there is no hotel called the Bristol in Cannes.
This macabre tale highlights our fascination with art and artists and the system of value we place on them. It elevates the ancient tradition of tattooing to the realms of the fine arts and makes the correlation between skin and canvass. The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word, â€˜Tatu,â€™ which literally means to mark something. It has played a role in ritual and tradition and has been used to express allegiance, status and as a form of body decoration in most cultures. What is interesting about the tattoo as a means of displaying art by those generally working in more conventional mediums is the temporary nature of the work. It adheres to the art worldâ€™s emphasis of the one off original but while being indelible, exists only as long as itâ€™s owner. It is also a portable artwork, which cannot be displayed in the usual venues, nor sold on, but is intrinsically priceless.
The artists collaborating in Chaim Soutine are; Edwina Ashton (UK), Sally Barker (UK), Joe Biel (USA), Isha BÃ¸hling (DK), Alex Bunn (UK), David Burrows (UK), Jason Coburn (UK), Wim Delvoye (Bel), Mary Departieu (FR), Jack Duplock (UK), Swetlana Heger ( Pol), Doug Fishbone (USA), Mathew Hale (UK), Peter Harris (UK), Scott King (UK), Adam McEwen UK), Kim Merrington (UK), Ian Monroe (USA), Victor Mount (UK), Bruno Musterberg (Pol), Richard Owen (UK), Janette Parris (UK), Lisa Prior (USA), The Royal Art Lodge (Can), David Shrigley (UK), John Strutton (UK), Mark Titchner (UK), Gavin Turk (UK), Markus Vater (Ger), Julie Verhoeven (UK) and Johannes Wohnseifer (Ger), Each has taken the tattoo to produce an interesting work that engages with the many sociological aspects of permanent body adornment.
The original artwork will be on display in the tattoo studio and there will be the opportunity to watch as they are transferred on to the skin. There will also be an evening event at the Barbican Art Gallery on the 1st December in conjunction with the exhibition, â€œCommunicate: Independent British graphic design since the sixties.â€ (16 Sept 04-23 Jan 05)
Private View Thursday 2nd December 6-9pm
Closed 25th December- 5th January
17 Hackney Road, London E2 7NX