‘Life Sucks’ series of works stem from an ongoing art-based research project which investigates the materiality of fat female skin through the medium of textiles. In weight-gain, arguably no other organ is more physically altered and visually modiﬁed than the skin. Flesh, viscera and bones reside relatively undisturbed as the mass of the body grows around. As the fat swells beneath the skin, the body transmutes towards the discursive fat person. Following dramatic weight-loss, skin becomes a phantasm for the body it left behind, a stark reminder of the undulating cascading fatty borders between self and the world. ‘New’, socially acceptable body, resides within the flayed skin of ‘old’ (fat) socially unacceptable body.
Skin acts as a repository, communicating the history of the body and ‘Life Sucks’ utilises stretched and unfilled tights to mimetically reference sagging breasts. My preference for tights is reflected in the thoughts of artist Senga Nengundi who selects tights as they relate ‘to the elasticity of the human body. From tender tight beginnings to sagging […] The body can only stand so much push and pull until it gives way, never to resume its normal shape.’
It is of course not just a literal reference to the body, but also, metaphorical for that of what it is to be a woman. The artworks possess an air of autonomy and ‘their’ story’ is not necessary, the viewer needs not know the rationale behind why *I* make ‘Life Sucks’, in order to engage with the pieces. There are many levels in which these artworks can engage with the viewer, from simply finding them funny, and wanting to ‘flick the titties’, to opening a dialogue about the feminist trope of life being a strain on women in particular.