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Demography

Friday, 28 March 2014 13:56 Written by Cynthia Grandini

For this series of 21 photographs, I have worked with written text on a surface. Once again I have explored the traces left by writing, but this time, I have done it on the skin. I am interested in the marks on surfaces insofar as they inscribe something in each of us. This piece is entitled Dermography. The word comes from the Greek dermatos: meaning skin and graphé meaning line and is defined as: “the propensity of the skin of certain individuals to swell up when the tip of an instrument is passed over it. The line turns red and then there is a raised high mark that follows this line exactly.”

To make these photographs, I wrote the words we see on skin (without using ink or causing injury), but before that I had to think, together with the person who appears in the images, about the words her body wanted to scream, which her life story had silenced. The emotional power of the lines and words emerged during this process.

What we can now read on her skin speaks of an emotional condition that existed prior to its being written on the skin. Every word is the accumulation of things that have been silenced and are difficult to express, but also the desire, dreams and need to say what has been repressed. The skin is the place to which everything returns in order to be revealed to the eyes. With this dermatological condition, the body makes us share in private issues and the act of making them explicit by writing them therefore has a cathartic meaning of structuring, shape and eventually releasing.
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