Why do people alter their body?

Exhibition about body modifications in the widest sense, across time and cultures.
The Body Art exhibition can be seen from 20 March to 30 August 2015 in the Tropenmuseum.

Body modifications like tattoos, piercings and make-up can be seen every day on the street. The body, and in particular the skin, serves as a canvas to give form to yourself, to transform and show who you are. It is an important means of expressing identity. With Body Art the Tropenmuseum presents an exhibition about body modifications in the widest sense, from make-up and tattoos to implants below the skin and surgical changes. Across time and cultures. The central question is – why do people alter their body?


Six possible answers

Never before has there been an exhibition in the Netherlands about body modifications in the widest sense which focuses on the question Why? The Body Art exhibition in the Tropenmuseum introduces the visitor to six possible answers. Contemporary work by the world-famous artist ORLAN and photos by Krijn van Noordwijk are alternated with personal stories and top pieces from the Tropenmuseum’s own collection and from, for example, the MAS in Antwerp and the Museum der Kulturen in Basel.

The Tropenmuseum offers an open view

Besides the socially accepted tattoos, piercings and make-up, there are many ways of altering your body: deliberately inflicted scars, burn marks, implants or silhouette changes. People who have altered their body are generally quickly compartmentalized but the Tropenmuseum offers an open view. The Body Art exhibition shows that every ornamented person, no matter how extreme, is expressing his or her identity. Everyone has the need to do that.


Note for the editorial board

Images may be published only for the benefit of the Body Art exhibition with accompanying captions. 
For more information please contact Wilhelmien Hoekstra: T. +31 (0)88 - 00 42 891 / +31 (0)88 - 00 42 800 |  E. pr@wereldculturen.nl. Image material can be downloaded below.