Art Orienté objet Marion Laval-Jeantet & Benoît Mangin

Skin Culture

Skin Culture is the fruit of the artists’ experimenting on themselves. Skin cells have been biopsied, cultured, hybridised and tattooed to form a cabinet of curious biotechnological self-portraits, like contem porary totems, and destined ideally to be grafted by collectors onto themselves. Skin Culture originates fro m experi m ental work the group has been undertaking with American laboratories in the Boston area in 1996, while being enrolled as guinea pigs in the “Framingham cohort”, a group of individuals who volunteer to submit to extensive medical tests as part of a longitudinal study whose aim is to create a natural history of the living body: “We carefully tattooed these tissue samples with the emblems of our desire to belong to a margina l tribe that is dedicated to the preservation of rare species. So we decorated ourselves with the most popular animal imgery in fashion in tattoo parlours in the United States : varied imagery, honorary totems that would transform our skin into a type of wallpaper, a fleshy toile de Jouy . No new materials here: just us, recycled in our unrefined state as works of art with our utopias… small self-portraits that you can find attaching or that you can attach.”

Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin founded Art Orienté objet in 1991 as a collaboration intended to resemble that between a playwright and a stage director in constant dialogue. During the last fifteen years their work has been focusing on “the sciences of life” in general, from the life sciences to ethology and trans-cultural psychiatry.