A specter at the Geneva International Airport, or the COMPLICATED process of making our bodies and our desire our own.
Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III
Courtyard Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, London
Horiyoshi III, the internationally renowned tattoo artist currently has his first exhibition in London at the esteemed Somerset House.
Horiyoshi belongs to a royal line of horishi tattoo artists: those specialising in the traditional full-body tattoo called Irezumi. This exhibition studies his paintings on silk as well as displaying tattoo instruments and paint brushes.
Kokoro means ‘heart‘ and ‘feeling‘ in Japanese and through the paintings exhibited Horiyoshi III preserves traditional Japanese culture and mythology through incredibly beautiful silk paintings. Each painting shows typical Japanese images such as dragons, koi’s and white phoenix’s, but each one is depicted is varying sensitivity, intricacy and harshness depending on the story told. The diverse nature of each painting gives the exhibition an eclectic feel considering that most of the paintings are all the same size and repetitively placed beside one another. The varying brush strokes and colours used also add to this fantastic effect.
Having “vowed to never be lazy until the day I die”, he still tattoos six days a week after thirty years of practice. You can see a video of Horiyoshi III at work here which The Guardian recently made.
After meeting Ed Hardy (the exhibition opens with a quote from Hardy about Horiyoshi’s pioneering impact on tattoo culture and history) and becoming close friends, Horiyoshi started to use the electric needle alongside using traditional techniques and pioneered a new form of Japanese tattooing.
The exhibition is free and runs from now until until the 1st of June, it is open every day from 10.00-18.00. More information can be found here
In a conference given in 1966, Michel Foucault conceptualized the human body as the point zéro du monde, literally the starting point of the world. Quintessentially, from its lines or through its depth, a body lays out the universe and determines, even politically, one’s connection to his environment.
Although physical, as any frontier it is an agent of inclusion or banishment. Ultimately, a ravaged body sentences its owner to a form of social exile.
My friend Antoine Catala told me about a museum in Paris that somehow classified some of these exiles. It collects casts of skin diseases.
Located within the walls of the Hospital Saint-Louis, the Musée des maladies de peaux owns 4807 pieces predominantly manufactured by Jules Baretta between 1884 and 1913.
Michel Foucault, Le corps utopique, Radio feature: France Culture, 1966
French, no subtitles (sorry).