Artist Invites Skaters to Destroy Photos of Women, Sparks Outrage

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Dutch photograph artist Erik Kessels has sparked outrage together with his newest artwork set up, titled “Destroy My Face.” Kessels lined the bottom of a skate park with portraits of girls who’ve had cosmetic surgery after which invited skate boarders to shred them up by using over them.

Kessels started putting in the “interactive” exhibition on September seventh.


The set up was opened to the general public on September ninth, and the launch was publicized by Kessels, the skate park (Pier15 Skatepark in Breda), and BredaPhoto Pageant (the biggest worldwide photograph competition within the Benelux).




“Cosmetic surgery has turn out to be one thing fairly regular in at this time’s society. Nonetheless, when taken overboard, these surgical procedures can lead to deformation and transforms mankind into monsters,” BredaPhoto writes. “Dutch artist Erik Kessels will showcase these archetypical faces in a grid, to be seen in a really uncommon spot, the place guests can work together and intrude with these faces. As straightforward as they had been as soon as made stunning, as straightforward they’re now destroyed.”

Dazed reviews that the set up has already obtained a major quantity of backlash, with many denouncing it as misogynistic and artwork that encourages violence towards ladies.

A gaggle of photographers and different creatives have revealed an open letter denouncing the art work and calling for its removing.

“With a title like ‘Destroy My Face’, we assume that the purpose of this work was to elicit a response like this,” the letter reads. “It’s in your face, pointed, and most of all, violent.

“This title, in addition to your choice to position this work on the ground of a skatepark the place female-presenting people may be trampled and skated over by skaters, reproduces this sentiment. By inserting this work in a public area like Skatepark Pier15, one other insult to harm is added. Skateparks and different public areas needs to be locations which might be open and free to make use of by all who want to come, and the place individuals shouldn’t be ridiculed or judged based mostly on what they seem like.”

The set up’s web page on the BredaPhoto web site.

“[W]e are annoyed with BredaPhoto,” the open letter states. “As one of many extra outstanding photo-festivals within the Netherlands, BredaPhoto has the potential to speak about and stand towards stigma and poisonous methods in our (visible) tradition however has nonetheless determined to fund this venture. A piece that does nothing however reinforce clichés in our visible tradition whereas it shames and degrades the alternatives that individuals have made with regard to their very own our bodies.

“We can’t excuse the rampant sexism, racism and different biases which might be nonetheless so ingrained inside our cultural establishments – particularly not within the troublesome monetary occasions of at this time the place it’s already onerous sufficient to get tasks funded. We don’t perceive how BredaPhoto accepted, financed and executed this proposal – and know that you are able to do higher.”

The letter requires the set up to be eliminated, for an evidence, and for transparency and accountability shifting ahead.

You may learn (and signal) the complete open letter right here. We’ve reached out to Kessels for remark and can replace this text if/once we obtain a response.


Replace: Right here’s a press release supplied by Kessels in response to the controversy:

Cosmetic surgery has turn out to be one thing fairly regular in at this time’s society. Nonetheless, when taken overboard, these surgical procedures can lead to deformations. The illustration of oneself and what’s actual appear to blur increasingly. The identical may be stated for the way we current the picture of ourselves on-line. Being insta-perfect can turn out to be the norm as a substitute of the exception and we will manipulate our picture in a number of seconds. The deformation that when began with cosmetic surgery will proceed on this set up whereas skaters create one other uncontrolled actuality. Machine studying, as one other synthetic intervention, was used to generate the choice after coming into all, female and male, accessible on-line cosmetic surgery portraits.

The intention of this work is ironic and intends to evoke a dialogue about self-acceptance. In fact it doesn’t imply to encourage violence towards ladies. With this work I by no means needed to offend anybody, however when studying current feedback on-line, I perceive I’ve achieved so and I apologise for that. For my part the operate of artwork in society is to begin dialogues and I proceed to consider in that.

Kessels says the competition will likely be releasing an extended assertion shortly.

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