Exhibited: La Peau The Summer Show, Art Mandat, Les Perles Tanneries, Barjols, Var, France 2016
This larger than life figurative drawing of a man scrubbing himself was made for installation in the staff shower room of a derelict tannery. It alludes to the leather tanning processing of raw animal materials, and which involves extensive scrubbing and washing of the animal skin.
The depiction of cleaning, sloughing off dead skin and ‘dirt’, transforming, also refers to the history of the building and area.
Barjols, in the south of France, was a thriving centre for the leather industry for centuries , thanks to its plentiful sources of fast flowing water.
It went into rapid decline after WWII and the last tannery closed in the 1980s, leaving a town and community running into dereliction. The tanneries are being reinvented as artists’ living, working and gallery spaces.