May 9, 2014 - Brandts - Museum of Art and Visual Culture - Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art
May 9, 2014

Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art

Dr. Lakra, Dude, 2005. Tattooed plastic doll. Brask Collection. Photo: Anders Sune Berg.

Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art
10 May–21 September 2014 

Opening: Friday 9 May, 5pm

Brandts – Museum of Art and Visual Culture
Brandts Torv 1
5000 Odense C
Denmark
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm,
Thursday noon–9pm

www.brandts.dk

Deck hand, beach boy or famous artist? Who can tell the difference these days? Tattoos were once reserved for Nyhavn’s hardcore sailors. Now, however, sports stars, pop idols and TV hosts have revolutionized our bodily forms of expression and made ink drawings on the body cool for everyone. The exhibition Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art takes a close look at a visual phenomenon that is a prominent feature of contemporary life, showing how little drawings on the body have become universal art.

People are being tattooed like never before. While drawings of mermaids, sailing ships or the names of girls in far-away ports used to be reserved for sailors, tattoos have today become a global visual culture. Developed by tattooers who enjoy cult status and promoted by sports stars, pop idols and TV hosts, ink on the body has never been more cool. But how did this culture of tattoos originate, and what does it say about our relationship to our bodies today?

Through photographs, drawings and films, Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art tells the story of tattooing from the first shops in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, to the international art scene of today. It begins with historic pictures and tall tales from Nyhavn 17, the address of the world’s oldest tattoo shop. This was where “Ink Hans” and “Tattoo Ole” gained legendary status among sailors and royalty. The exhibition also tells the story of tattoos as personal documentation and as signifier of memories, fashion and identity.

But tattoos are not a trade reserved for tattooers. Artists worldwide have adopted the special techniques and visual language of tattoos, creating art that provokes, shifts boundaries and point to taboos. Especially bodily taboos. The exhibition presents works by world famous artists such as Dr. Lakra (MEX), Wes Lang (USA) and Douglas Gordon (UK), each in his own way bringing the body into play and showing the connection between the little ink drawings and the world around us.

Tattoo – From Maritime Heroes to World Art is organized and produced by Brandts in collaboration with curator Liberty Paterson and writer Jon Nordstrøm.

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