Maybe it’s just me, but when I think “skin chair,” I think of the creepy serial killer character, Buffalo Bill, from the movie "Silence of the Lambs." I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that.
But after the initial shock of seeing U.K.-based artist Gigi Barker‘s chairs meant to look, feel and smell like human skin, I found myself oddly fascinated.
In the caption for one of the images, Barker writes, “I want the user to question their relationship and level of comfort they have in their own skin and with another.”
In a more flattering light, the chair resembles a couple of giant dinner rolls and that also is a little disconcerting. That’s either a naked human body laying over there or something to eat. Either way, grab the bottle of olive oil and let’s go!
Barker used silicone because it has a texture and springiness resembling skin. She also added her model’s aftershave to it, to give the final product a smell that would prompt a response.
In another piece, she used leather, but admits that the impact is probably not as strong, since leather technically is skin and most people are familiar with it. Whereas the silicone is not skin at all, but so close to it that it could be skin. There’s the fine line between what is and what could be, that gray area in which we find ourselves both repulsed and fascinated.
In an interview with WIRED, Barker says that some of her best fans are children.
“Without any of the hang ups we later develop, they are free to truly explore and interact with the work. Work regarding the human body is very personal and we all have a very immediate reaction to it, so the reactions have reflected this.”
Are you saying I have problems with intimacy? I don’t, you know. I’m perfectly happy in my own skin.
Now put the lotion in the basket.
Credit: Courtesy Gigi Barker