Amsterdam

I went on a week long trip to Amsterdam with uni and I absolutely loved it.

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Marlene Dumas’ exhibition The Image As Burden was showing in the Stedelijk Museum. It was the most amazing luck that my favourite painter’s retrospective was showing while is was in the same city.

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We spent a couple hours in Galerie Rob Koudijs looking through the two exhibitions and draws where some jewellery is stored. I thought it was really great to see (in person) works belonging to jewellers I have researched over my years of study. I was very excited to see Ted Noten and Ruudt Peters exhibited in Rob’s gallery.

We went to Galerie Marzee- the biggest jewellery gallery in the world. This was my favourite part of the trip, I could have spent an entire day looking through the many many draws of jewellery, sketching what I see. Marzee is in a beautiful, trendy town called Nijmegen.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Amsterdam. I got to experience the museums and galleries, went iceskating, saw interesting street art and loved the old buildings. I will definitely be going back there, hopefully one day to attend my own exhibition in Galerie Rob Koudijs or Galerie Marzee.

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Exhibit

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I exhibited my photographs in the hallway of the art college for a week. I left paper and pen for people to write their comments about the artwork because I think it is important to create a discussion, especially when there is a stigma out there regarding bruises.

Like my experiments in the past, this did not attract too much attention. The comments I received are positive, people found the bruises beautiful and the idea unique. I was hoping for some challenging opinions though, something that could have started a conversation over the comments sheet (unfortunately I was not able to even overhear comments as I was out of the country). One person wrote “the neck placement speaks of tracheotomy”- this is an interesting observation and adds a new, even more gruesome analysis of the work.

After the photo shoot I asked the models to leave the tattoos on for at least the remaining part of the day and take note of reactions from people. Here are the results:

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-very concerned friends shocked and asked what happened/been in a fight?

-people thought it was a hicky

-what a hell of a bruise, how did he manage to get that??

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-some thought he had a Chinese burn

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-workshop technician approached her embarrassed and discreet to ask if everything was ok

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-concerned friend asked if he got a new piercing and said it looked extremely infected (viewer described as a little panicked)

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-loved her earrings before realising it was a bruise

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-peers enquired about what she did to herself

-thought she was wearing a colourful bracelet

These comments were very satisfying because it confirmed for me that the tattoos do look realistic. People saw the grotesque quality of the bruises and curiosity took over, creating discussion with the wearer. Some of the viewers were able to accept the beauty in the adornment, showing me that we can see past common ideals of attraction.

Artist Statement

Teresa Lee

We Are Not Made of Glass

Objects and images that are neglected or regarded as ugly are a big focus for me throughout my works. I am interested in the weird and grotesque, especially as these characteristics conjure feelings of disgust and uneasiness, resulting in curiosity and discussion. These feelings have fueled my thoughts and research into bruises. I am drawn to the human body’s complexities and imperfections- while jewellery is worn on the body, this combination of theory and practice fits perfectly together.

Jewellery is worn to add to the wearer’s aesthetic and acts as an expression of their identity. Every bruise on the human body has a story behind it and like jewellery, bruises can give the viewer an insight into the wearer. The typical connotation behind a bruise is quite negative, but through my pieces I want to represent another side that communicates the visual beauty of the injury. The pinks, blues and purples as well as yellows and greens are striking colours on the skin and create unpredictable, unique shapes. Through my own photography of bruises I documented those that were caused by accidents, such as results of sporting collisions and everyday bumping into objects. Bruises are just adornments the body produces naturally, expressing the wearer’s story in the same way contemporary adornment can.

To an extent, the human body can take a large amount of impact without falling apart and bruises remain as a badge of honour, a show of hard work, as evidence of a narrative. Whether the narrative is an accident, a victory or an act of violence, a story is projected that represents the wearer. Temporary tattoos of hand printed bruises allow an accessible way to adorn the body with these beautiful, natural images without having to apply blunt force.

Bruises, as organic images produced by the body, are jewellery themselves and like contemporary jewellery they are ornaments that carry meaning and experience. They are portable stories and metaphors. The works aim to communicate the beauty within a bruise while subtly still holding onto the grotesque qualities associated them.

Stamps

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These are photos of the impressions left on my skin by the stamps. My wrist has interesting red lines from the raised contours on the face of stamp and my finger has quite a definite indentation. I then drew around these images to demonstrate their functionality as natural jewellery, but I do prefer the marks as they are without drawings to make them look like conventional jewellery.

Tattoos

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The result of my hand-printed bruises is these temporary tattoos. I am very happy with how realistic they look on the body- positioned tactically, the outcome will be more effective. I am imagining a professional and simple photo shoot with my friends wearing the tattoos in places on the body that one would typically wear jewellery. I want to portray bruises as adornments- these tattoos will be an accessible way of wearing a bruise without having to apply the usual blunt force.