On the seventh day, while God sleeps after creating the world, man mates, shoots, invents rhythm and dance, paints and tattoos on cave walls. That’s how fast things go in Genesis, in this fictitious version as well. the point is oldest recorded tattoos date back 4500 years and the famous corpse, Ötzi, preserved in the ice of the Alps.
The urge to indelibly decorate the body and using ink to confirm ownership of organs or to stamp them, it’s been more than that, they come from far and everywhere. ‘Tattoo’ exhibition. Curated by Anne Richard and on display at the CaixaForum until 28 August, “art under the skin” walks an ancient path from an anthropological point of view, until it reaches the lascivious moment of the tattoo, despite the popular needle shoot. subcultures in which the tattoo establishes a social boundary survive. In the near future, another exhibition is left, consisting of photos of the happily tattooed generation going on beach vacations with Imserso. If Imserso in the near future. For now, we rewind to see some parts of the example and the excellent catalogue.
Until 1871, British soldiers convicted of desertion were tattooed with the letter ‘D’ for ‘escape’ or ‘BC’ for ‘bad character’. Many Armenian women who fled to Syria from the genocide of their people at the hands of the Turks in the 1920s were forced into prostitution; pimps tattooed their faces and arms to prevent them from escaping. There are many more examples of stigmatizing tattoos: in the Vietnam War, South Vietnamese soldiers were tattooed with ‘sat cong’ (death to communists) to prevent them from defecting to the enemy side, and after the Gulf War in Iraq they were engraved with a cross between fugitives and conscientious objectors. At the extermination center of Auschwitz, only in the terrible Auschwitz, the Nazis tattooed their registration numbers on the forearms of the prisoners: an administrative tattoo and the height of inhumanity.
In contrast to the oppressive tattoo, the vengeful tattoo emerged in the 19th century and especially in the first half of the 20th century. to be somehow proud to belong to a caste ‘foreign’: soldiers of the worst unit (for example, in France, battalions going to Africa), bandits, convicts and sailors. While in the UK, the Netherlands or Denmark tattooing made its way from dangerous living to more traditional social strata from the middle of the century and was refined as an art or at least a craft, in Spain it remained until a decade ago. 1980 is sloppy and on the fringes of society: the purse and the legion.
The United States of America, a country with a sense of fun, was ahead. As early as 1871 Phineas Taylor Barnum founded PT Barnum’s Grand Traveling Circus Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome where he showcased George Costentenus, among other human phenomena, He was allegedly forcibly tattooed for three months by Chinese Tatars in Burma. how they read Barnum presented him as a victim and a hero at the same time, as he suffered “more than seven million bloody punctures.” From then on, heavily tattooed people became a major attraction at American fairs and remained the number one primary link in the entertainment world until the 1960s.
Like an ethnologist, between the 1950s and 1990s prison officer Danzig Baldaev drew the tattoos he saw on the bodies of ordinary prisoners of the Soviet regime. Baldaev’s drawings appeared a universe of terrible hatred towards communism and sympathy for Nazism, contempt for life, machismo and boundless obscenity. Not surprisingly, as Varlam Shalamov suggests in some of his statements about the gulag, political prisoners in the USSR lived in prisons and labor camps terrorized by the criminal class.
In today’s jolly tattoo, at least two criminal subcultures in which ink works as an internal code (hierarchy) and externally survive, with this becoming mere and accepted body decoration, another episode of the already classic street aesthetic being absorbed by the ‘mainstream’. (stay away). One is the yakuza or Japanese mafia, and the other is the Central American maras or gangs.especially Salvadorans and Hondurans. While it is becoming more and more common to see small tattoos on faces, the cryptic faces of gang members are still impressive.
The exhibition also focuses on the tattoo traditions of Polynesia, New Zealand, Samoa, the Philippines, Thailand and China.
It doesn’t appear anywhere in ‘Tattoo’. Art under the skin’, but as a service to society, we allow John Irving to recommend reading ‘Until I Find You’, with an organist painted with phrases that he is always cold from sheet music and chants, and a tattoo artist specializing in Jericho roses that hide the vulva. It’s not documented that people with head-to-toe tattoos are always cold, or that roses of Jericho are a classic tattoo motif, let alone the hidden vulva roses of Jericho, but they are two literary finds.