Body Art


Mugler – AW11/12

Body Art is a form of expressionism used by artists and individuals to make a statement or for decoration. The most common forms of body art include tattooing and piercing. However, many people use body art for more extreme messages and statements including scarification, branding or tight lacing with corsets to alter the shape of the body. Body Art is an important part of history for different cultures including African Tribes who scar their bodies to show which tribe they are part of, furthermore, Indian families use henna patterning in important ceremonies such as weddings.

Artists such as Andy Warhol have experimented with body art and more specifically the absence of the body. However, more extreme artists such as Ketty La Rocca and Vito Acconci are famous for their experimentations with body art and putting their body under pressure in order to express a message.

There has always been scrutiny around how the body should be formed and what constitutes the ‘perfect’ body. This idea of the ideal body has changed drastically over time in history. In Victorian times women forced their bodies into corsets in order to have a very small waist and to emphasise other assets. However the modern day sees women under pressure to have ‘model-esque’ figure e.g. tall, thin and beautiful. Women use clothes to manipulate the way their body looks and therefore they are expressing their bodies through clothes. Men also use their bodies as a form of art and expression by wearing clothes and which make them look masculine e.g. suits to broaden shoulders and look taller.

The body has and will always be an important part of how individuals express themselves, whether it is through tattoos, paint or clothes each person radiates a certain message which they want to put out to society, and this is unavoidable.

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Written by Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones, studying Literature at Portsmouth University, with a passion for all things art and fashion, writer/reader/ editor/ artist/ dedicated shopper. Felicity looks after the Catwalk Yourself Art Dictionary.

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