Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

Second Skins: Pinar Yolacan, Tissue Culture and Art & the Ambi Generation

Tissue Culture and Art

Second Skins: Pinar Yolacan, Tissue Culture and Art & the Ambi Generation paper presented at the conference Wearable Futures: Hybrid Culture in the Design and Development of Soft Technology held at the University of Wales, Newport from September 14 – 16, 2005.


Leather may be making a conspicuous comeback in fashion, but for a growing group of artists it is skin in its uncured, pre-tanned state that is receiving increased attention. Rather than a return of body conscious garments that expose the wearer’s own skin, these artists are suggesting that garments be fashioned directly from skin. The trend gives a new, and frankly unsettling, interpretation to the idea of the textile garment as a “second skin” by confronting us with its most literal interpretation. What provokes these artists to make flesh the new garment and accessory? Does this work simply testify to a desire that is at the heart of bodily adornment: our skin and the possibility, however gruesome, of its decoration? Is our increased comfort with skin and its manipulation a result of the increasingly common role cosmetic surgery plays in notions of beauty and health today? Or is this precisely where the discomfort lies?

image of “Victimless Leather” courtesy of Tissue Culture & Art