Second Skin

The recent popularity of images of female masochism expresses not only sexual fantasy, but also refers to women’s position in contemporary culture. Depersonalization is thought to be one of the most radical forms of masochism. Depersonalization is a denial of independence. In the times of rapid changes and when women negotiate new social positions and build an identity based on „independence,” can the feeling of weakness and powerlessness have an emancipatory dimension? Could objectification on demand gives a sense of liberation from cultural conventions?

curatorial text by Zofia Krawiec accompanying the „Masochists” exhibition, ZONA gallery, Szczecin, PL 17.05–15.06.2019

Second Skin is a photographic series of self-portraits in silicone costumes that imitate female face and body, and that are normally used by men who practice Female Masking fetish.
Self-portrait in disguise has a long tradition in photography (Marcel Bascoulard, Pierre Molinier, Tomasz Machciński, April Dawn Alison, etc.) and, alike for Female Maskers, often served author’s self-expression.
For me, creating fictional characters and posing in a hampering, silicone costume meant building visual „palimpsests” of female image. Wearing the naked female body for the camera seemed to me at the same time exposing and disguising, identifying and depersonalizing myself.
I see a resemblance in this subversive experience with how women are building their new social identity in the present when demonstrating femininity through independence and power is a necessity, but can be also a demanding „costume” to wear.