Skin has become an autobiographic theme for Lukas Hofmann, himself suffering from a dry eczematic skin condition. The act examines allergy as a process of self-sabotage, dry peeled skin as a motor of restorative power. The performance constitutes a loose allegory of biological xenophobia but also individual - but widespread - forms of anxiety. The theme of body cell replacement offers scope for exploring alternatives to such sentiments. Dust, which the artist’s own skin produces an extraordinary amount of is read by Hofmann largely a signifier of self-destruction and self-renewal, the body being able to exchange almost all its cells in 7-15 years, all its upper skin layer in about 3 weeks.
The title of Hofmann’s work, 'Skin Come Leather I', finds source in the liminal occurrence when an animal creature undergoes a rather rudimentary process of having fat and hairs removed, being stored in salt, undergoing chrome treatment rendering its skin blue, then being re-colored and given its "natural" look. The skin at that time becomes an elastic commodity, skin to leather.
S.C.L. (Skin Come Leather), Vol. II
"Hofmann follows the rudimentary process of turning skin into leather—a commodity—alongside skin examinations and experiments. His new video piece obsessively exposes all these aspects through a degree of consciously mystifying, and consequently disturbing aestheticiSation and close-up inspection, typical for Hofmann’s artistic process." - Karina Kottová, curator, Skin Come Leather
S.C.L. (Skin Come Leather), Vol. III
Hofmann looks at skin as a permeable border, at eczema and allergy as failures of hypersensitive immune systems, that can be freely transposed onto wider societal issues. Skin as a multi-layered metaphor and sphere becomes Hofmann’s zone for interaction, manipulation, (self)violation, sensation, or exploitation: both dividing the bodily self from the rest of the world, and providing access to it; a sphere of the most intimate contact, letting the environmental elements enter the body, holding the body together and yet being so vulnerable to outer powers. The video in its hyper-tactile contemplations of skin as a membrane and border present the microscopic in a macro frame.
Lukas Hofmann (b. 1993, Prague) is a Czech curator and artist who primarily works in performance art and fashion. Between 2012-2014 Hofmann studied at the CTU Faculty of Architecture. In 2014 and 2016, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he worked in the Studio of Conceptual Art Tomas Vane, and the Sculpture Studio of Dominik Lang, respectively. In 2019, Hofmann studied at the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul. Hofmann was presented the Jindrich Chalupecky Award, a prize for exceptional young Czech Visual Artists, in 2018.
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