An exhibition titled Skin Deep is on in the city to rattle our conception of the term ‘skin deep’. ‘We told the artists to look at the meaning of skin deep from their own perspective. We hold that skin deep means superficial or artificial, however, we neglect the many layers that compose our skin,’ says curator Layla Rao.
‘The composition, texture and the role that the skin plays in protecting our body from the environment, in making us aware of the different stimuli is fascinating and inverts the conventional meaning of skin deep. In a way, we have tried to play on the term and twisted it to generate a range of different meanings,’ she adds.
Rao says they wanted to to highlight the meaning of ‘skin’ beyond the constructions of race, gender and concentrate more on the structural qualities. One has to systematically unveil each work which is symbolical.
For instance, Megha Joshi’s work titled Skin Remembered consists of a photograph of 30 different people she had met. She has captured their scars. ‘The scar then symbolises the capacity of the skin to remember,’ says Rao.
Similarly, Sumakshi Simgh has used three paper works in which she has placed layers of paper on top on one another in such a way that it resembles the different layers of our skin. The work is a representation of the manner in which the skin appears through the lens of a microscope.
Artist Yardena Kurulkar works with ceramics and clay and uses her body to make casts. So she records a video and photographs simultaneously, the manner in which this cast dissolves in water. ‘Clay resembles the skin, as at different temperatures it cracks or becomes too moist. And the manner in which it dissolves in water also resembles the transient space we occupy between life and death,’ says the artist.
Kavita Jaiswal’s work belongs to a series called No Beginning No End. It fuses the many layers of meaning the phrase ‘skin deep’ carries. The physical shape of the body, the soul and the earth merge in her work. ‘There is a resemblance between the veins in our body and those found in the plants and trees as well as the mark left on the skin of the earth by the water bodies in my work,’ she explains.