Leora Farber is a South African artist from Johannesburg. The work in Skin-Less was completed during an eight week residency at Gasworks.
In this exhibition, Farber explored how bodily matter is contained and suppressed in images of 'seamless' physical (feminine) perfection. Using wax she transforms the surfaces of garments associated with 'stereotypical femininity' - corsets, bodices, stockings - into tactile, intricately decorated, skin-like constructions. Craft and sewing instruments (historically associated with 'women's work') and medical implements (traditionally associated with the masculine domain of science) are the primary tools of constriction and control. Fastening, piercing through or displayed on waxy skins, they draw parallels between the 'art' of tailoring a garment to fit a specific body size and contemporary body re-constructions using surgical 'craft' to fabricate an appearance which conforms to a particular ideal of beauty.
Recent exhibitions by Farber include: Colours, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Inside-Outside, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg Biennale and Seeing Through the Body, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg. The show was accompanied by a small illustrated catalogue with an essay by Hazel Friedman, art critic, Mail & Guardian (South Africa).
These pieces convince, largely because of the delight that Farber takes in the modeling - in queasy verisimilitude.
Martin Herbert, Time Out