Chinese artist Cao Hui made a series of sculpturs of everyday objects that are often made of leather, like a couch, gloves, shoes or a suitcase. He also shows the inside of these objects, with organs, fat and flesh. The artist wants to challenge the way we look at everyday objects.
On the website of the Lin Lin Gallerij, Cao Hui explains:
Increasingly uneasy and dissatisfied with merely describing surface appearances, artists now attempt to plumb the inner reaches of things; an agenda that apparently moves into science or other fields. It seems artists are no longer happy just being artists, but are driven by their inborn love of performance to try out new roles, such as philosopher, scientist, doctor or perhaps even engineer.
According to this info the sculptures are not made with real leather nor organs, but with products like resin and fibre.
The artist doesn’t seem to want to bring an animal rights message, but the images do make you think about the issue, no?
Leather is not a by-product
Leather or animal skin is often labelled as a by-product or waste product of the meat industry*. The reasoning is that cows are slaughtered for meat, and well, we can’t eat the skins, so we just make shoes and jackets of it, otherwise it would just be thrown away! Evidently, the slaughterhouses don’t just give away these animal skins, they bring in a lot of money. Same goes for other ‘waste products’ from the meat industry, like bones and skin used for gelatine or slaughterhouse waste for energy production. The sale of these products contributes to the rentability of the meat industry. It determines the economic value of a cow, the price a slaughterhouse is willing to pay for an animal. Buying leather contributes to the exploitation of animals in the meat industry.
Profile and bio of the artist, on the website of Lin Lin Gallery: Cao Hui.
There you can find more images of the series of sculptures made by Cao Hui.
Stella McCartney about the leather industry.
*Of course there are also many animals of whom their skins are used for leather, such as crocodiles, snakes, ostriches, kangoroos, …
See: Leather. Animals abused and used for their skins.
I also posted this in Dutch on my other blog, HERE
It looks quite scary! But I like the idea of showing that such everyday objects are actually made of animal products and that they have looked differently before. I think that many of us objectify animal products too much. We either have forgotten how they looked like when they were alive or we simply chose to ignore it. This really makes you think about the issue!
That’s amazing work. Very potent way of showing a different perspective of leather products.
I have seen the one of the couch before but not the others, didn’t realize it was a complete project–very thought-provoking! Kudos to this artist for helping to raise awareness about leather and what it actually is. There is not as much concern/outcry for leather as there is for fur, which I don’t understand–or for any other material that is derived and taken from animals for our luxury..suede, wool, down, silk, etc.