IDENTITY Exhibition explores body dysmorphia

IDENTITY

TEN ARTISTS EXPLORE BODY DYSMORPHIA IN POWERFUL EXHIBITION

Zebra One Gallery challenged ten artists to explore body dysmorphia and self-image for Identity, a powerful group exhibition showing at the Hampstead Gallery from 24 November until 9 December.

It features never-before-seen images of Lady Gaga, who famously suffered from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) in her teens, leading to eating disorder battles. A percentage of monies raised from the exhibition will go to The BDD Foundation, the only charity in the world that is dedicated to alleviating the suffering that BDD causes.

Identity examines how our (often distorted) self-perceptions are shaped by experience, society and the media as well as its impact on mental health, the importance of talking about these anxieties and the transformative power of self-expression, like art.

The show’s curator, Zebra One Gallery owner Gabrielle Du Plooy said: “This is a positive and empowering exhibition of carefully cherry-picked artists, opening  important conversations about identity and body dysmorphia at the most critical time.”

Derrick Santini (whose collectors include Damien Hirst, Adele and Jemima Khan) took the five, previously unseen Lady Gaga photographs in the show just before she found International stardom in 2009. The images document how Gaga uses fashion, art and performance to express radically different identities.

Leigh de Vries‘ life was dominated by Body Dysmorphic Disorder for 25 years, so she explores her condition through extraordinary installations, which allow the viewer to experience BDD through the lens of the sufferer, breaking stigmas and investigating art’s positive role in mental health.

Meltem Isik’s extraordinary, nude portraits feature the subjects holding giant images of various body parts against themselves, as powerful explorations of body image and self-awareness.

Photographers Bruno Metra and Laurence Jeanson – collectively known as Metra-Jeanson – cut out heavily stylised facial features from adverts and then taped them over models’ faces. They then photographed their subjects, for witty and dark imagery, emphasizing the difference between edited and real appearance and its impact on body image.

Emerging artist Scarlet Isherwood, 19, has fresh experiences of the impact advertising and society have had on young people’s body image. For this exhibition, she uses resin to encase a real lamb’s heart – representing rotting self-esteem – surrounded by real butterflies and glitter – symbolising advertising, glamorising the need to change and transform.

Daniel Martin paints captivating portraits which challenge our perceptions of beauty and ask the viewer how we define ugliness and aesthetics.

Bartosz Beda’s portraits and figurative works are explorations of the relationship between identity, daily life and the human psyche.

James Green put himself in the shoes of BDD-sufferers, using facial expressions to convey the overwhelming feeling of being trapped.

Mason Storm questions whether extreme body modification is a form of body dysmorphia in his bold painting of Lady Gaga’s late muse, artist and model, Zombie Boy, who was famously tattooed as a living skeleton, from head to toe.