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:
-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??
-some thought he had a Chinese burn
-workshop technician approached her embarrassed and discreet to ask if everything was ok
-concerned friend asked if he got a new piercing and said it looked extremely infected (viewer described as a little panicked)
-loved her earrings before realising it was a bruise
-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.