You in My Skin

In “You in My Skin” Hirtenfelder combines the mediums text, textile art and performative installation to topics such as skin conditions and identity. She wants to create a visual and non-visual space where she can express skin diseases in metaphorical presentations that can be seen, heard and touched. So far, she concentrated on her own personal experience and the experience of other affected people within skin disorders, but she is also researching the subject in European and East-Caribbean countries. 

Her projects are often transmitted digitally with an analogue flair. Hirtenfelder describes herself as an observer - a communication tool that is in-between individual stories and the implementation of artistic concepts. In “You in My Skin” she collects the shards of her own and other people’s relationships to body and skin and glues them together to make one whole fragile glass decanter.

In her project Denise Hirtenfelder calls attention to the fact that skin diseases are much more spread in our civilization than most people think. 85% of the world ‘s population has acne. Psoriasis is high in the ranking on the WHO list of the heaviest non-communicable diseases. 13% of children and 2-3% of adults are stroked by neurodermitis, and for some skin conditions no good research yet exists. People who are affected by skin disorders have a higher chance of suffering from depression and problems with their self-esteem. A skin disorder has mostly a psychosomatic origin and is visible to other people. The treatments often just reduce the symptoms but cannot make the chronical disease totally disappear.

“You in My Skin” shall make people aware of the dimension of skin disorders in our society. Hirtenfelder is working with skin diseases in an aesthetical way and aims to make approaches with a taboo topic in a vulnerable but beautiful representation.

The project is an emotional work supported by scientific background research to express the feelings of Hirtenfelder as an artist who has dealt with psoriasis for many years. The work is mostly based on personal experience, research and mood, and was initiated by an ongoing interest in topics such as skin and self-expression.

In her exhibition in Millstatt am See the spectator was confronted with interactive installations, audio recordings, photographs printed on transparent material to evoke the feeling of one’s own skin becoming translucent of aggressive treatment methods, textile art and various textures that replicate skin.

Autonomous Work: Research, Material, Exhibition-Planning


© 2020 by Denise Hirtenfelder