Monday, December 28, 2009

People In Art

I know I'm on holiday and everything, but I just can't leave it alone. Following in the human/nonhuman theme: check out this jewelry by Aussie artist Polly van der Glas.

"All works are handmade in Melbourne, with sterling silver, human hair and human teeth. Human teeth are locally donated and sterilised, and human hair is either locally donated or sourced from India and China."

That last one is a human hair purse.

I have to say, the use of human body parts to make jewelry reminds me of another situation in which "the production of soap from human bodies and the tanning of human skin for industrial purposes" occurred. I realise these items are separated in time and space, and constructed in totally different contexts, but human soap and human tooth jewelry are disturbing on similar levels.

The transformation of a human into a thing (or 'Man-Thing') is likely to make many people very uncomfortable. And yet, we humans make so many of our things out of other creatures. A leather bag is a bag made of skin. Would you wear shoes made of human skin? I own leather goods, yet seldom do I think of the leather/skin relationship. I suspect most would call the above jewelry 'grotesque,' yet this is not a description used in relation to bags and shoes. Or feather bedspreads. Or chicken sandwiches.

Clearly the border of animal/object is, for many, much more easily crossed than that of human/object. It's very curious.


No comments:

Post a Comment