For Rek, Netherlands-based photographer Juuke Schoorl tests the limits of human skin, stretching and manipulating the flesh of her subjects with inexpensive items like thread, cellulose tape, and other household materials.
For Schoorl, skin has not only a functional but also an untapped formal value. In removing the dermis from the context of its practical purposes— regulating bodily sensation, securing internal organs— she allows it to exist as something foreign to and separate from the individual who wears it. In this work, skin ceases to exist as a medium for interacting with our surroundings and becomes a surface onto which the external world creates marks and imprints. Much like a camera itself, flesh has the potential to record moments in time, to respond and to adapt to outside forces.
Despite the sometimes extreme manipulations that it undergoes for Schoorl’s work, skin emerges as a surprisingly supple, workable and resilient material. Even when pushed to the point of discomfort, it remains unbroken. Ultimately, Rek challenges our notions of the human body, underscoring both the fragility and fortitude of our corporeal being. “By enhancing or enlarging things that I find interesting but others sometimes hardly notice, I hope to challenge other people’s perspectives on the world,” explains the artist.
All images © Juuke Schoorl