Body Lines

Summer 2002

Throughout human history, man treated his body as a canvas for drawing, painting and decorating.

Body Lines, an exhibition on body decoration, tattoos, henna and kohl brought together artifacts, photographs and multi-disciplinary illustrative media which demonstrated that body art was not just a passing fashion trend but rather has been used throughout history as a means for individual and communal self expression and social demarcation. The exhibition examined the hidden meanings behind this practice, meanings which touch on collective and personal identity, magic and medicine and social aesthetic codes. Side by side, the exhibition displayed 2000-year-old tattooed mummies and the singer Madonna adorned with modern henna, tattooed pilgrims from the 18th century and sports fans wearing “war paint” …

Most of the items in the exhibition were on loan from Henk Schiffmacher’s renowned collection. Schiffmacher who is a well known tattoo artist and famous for having tattooed many celebrities, including the Red Hot Chilly Peppers and Pearl Jam, is considered a body art “guru” worldwide. Schiffmacher himself is covered with tattoos he got on his world travels – always making sure to get traditional designs tattooed in their countries of origin. Schiffmacher owns an extensive collection of tattooing tools, rare posters, a large collection of photographs and other unique objects he picked up during his travels. In 1996, he opened the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum where he showcases large parts of his collections.

Exhibition Curator: Renee Sivan
Assistant Curator: Liat Margalit
Design: Tav Architects

Exhibition Catalogue

  • Kav-heb-s

    Body Lines

    Available in Arabic, English
    131 pages
    21 cm. x 25 cm.

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