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Body art for the skin

Did you know that the first tattoos date back to prehistoric times? As cultural symbols which have now become part of our everyday lives, they are an art form in their own right.

This is what we call "body art". From make-up to permanent tattoos from head to toe, not to mention piercings and implants, body art has become a form of expression on a par with painting or sculpture.

Because the body and skin are a way to show who we are, to be quite literally naked, body art takes the concept one step further and often goes beyond simply decorating the body. From Papua New Guinea to Brazil and from Japan to the Ivory Coast, this ancient art is anchored deep within humanity. Over time, the body has been marked, coloured and adorned with ritual symbols and other signs of allegiance to eventually become an amazing artistic canvas.

The famous painter Yves Klein (who invented the amazing blue colour that bears his name) invented "action painting" where the body itself marks the canvas. He was a trailblazer for today's body art, inspiring renowned names such as the French artist Orlan and those in the field of body painting such as Valentine Désir, Isabelle Bernard and Céline Guitry (also known as Black Cat).

See also the artist Shelley Jackson, who invited volunteers to have one word of a story tattooed onto their skin, with only the participants knowing the entire story. The name of her project: Skin. Whatever the technique, whether the result is temporary or inked forever, body art treats the body as a living canvas for the work drawn onto it.

So, never forget that your body is a work of art – and you are too.