For the first time, an exhibition presents the artistic dimension of tattooing and its history throughout human culture from its first appearance.
The musée du quai Branly reflects the growing interest given in our contemporary societies to this art, which is both a subject of fascination and of identity.
While tattooing has a rich technical and a esthetic history, which has already been thoroughly studied and represented, tattooists and the tattooed act as spokes people for the art on a daily basis.
For the first time, a major exhibition is dedicated to tattooing as an artistic medium, paying homage to the contemporary pioneers; these artists who have developed the art of tattooing but whose role has never been sufficiently appreciated.
For the event, the exhibition’s curators, Anne & Julien, have employed an extensive network to unite the most important works by tattoo artists.
Created specifically for the exhibition, 13 “volumes”– prototypes reproducing parts of the human body in extremely realistic fashion – are made from an experimental material and tattooed by masters of the art of tattooing, including tattoo artists Tin-Tin (France), Horiyoshi III (Japan), Filip Leu (Switzerland), Jack Rudy (USA), Xed Ledhead (UK) and Chimé (Polynesia).
Also presented are 22 body-suits; tattoo designs painted on to kakemonos by tattooists who combine a profound respect for the rules of their art with resolutely modern inspiration and the desire to present genuine uniqueness in their work.
The volumes and body-suits act as a contemporary thread running through the exhibition, highlighting the networks of influence in tattooing throughout the world.