The ultimate form of mixed media: Thomas Mailaender brings photographs and the human skin together in a new project for the publication “Illustrated People.” Each work is a “sunburn” of an old photograph on human skin. The French artist used UV light and live models in order to create these fleeting images. Each is a work of only a few moments as the photographs on the skin dissipated the moment they were hit with sunlight.
Mailaender’s work is an innovative exploration of the human body as a canvas. It not only uses live subjects as surfaces, but also makes each image special, as they did not last very long. This project is part of Mailaender’s experimental approach to the human body as a surface and canvas. Although the word “sunburn” might make these photographs seem a bit aggressive, (especially because of the red sunburned skin), these were projects of only a few minutes that dissipated as quickly as they came.
The old photographs transferred to each human body look even more enchanting and haunting when their canvas is live human skin. Although each image shows a common event (like a child on a horse or a couple kissing), they are literally made alive because of the blood running in the veins right underneath their own canvas.