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Bodypainting as an established form of art.

Body-Painting is not easy to categorize. On one hand it IS mankind's oldest form of art...on the other hand there is a lively discussion among art experts on whether body-painting constitutes art at all....


Ritual, spiritual, religious or martial body-painting is found throughout the history of mankind. It seems people have always had the wish of transforming themselves into something different, and for centuries, this was the only type of body-painting to be found. Beginning in the 1960s, however, body-painting was strongly connected to the movement of "sexual liberation", and was often used in a wild, untamed way, particularly in western culture.


It was not about art, or camouflage, but about presenting the naked human body as a sign of individual freedom. At approximately the same time famous and arrived artists like Verouschka, Yves Klein or the Viennese actionists started integrating body-painting into their work. However, even in these cases, body-painting was often used as a provocative tool rather than as an aesthetic form of expression.


So where do we stand today?


Well, you can confidently say that body-painting has established itself as a successful marketing and advertising technique. Many large international companies use the eye-catching characteristics of body-painting to promote their brand and generate attention for new products. Commercial body-painting has reached a breath-taking level of artistic excellence in the past decade and has definitely made the quality leap from "amateurish" to "professional".


However, there is one more very important aspect to body-painting: the fact that it has been almost completely out of the sight of formal "art history".


Body-painting artists all over the world are working hard to create high-quality designs and artworks that stand alone as individual and autonomous pieces of art. The only possible medium to properly capture body-painting as enduring works of art has always been photography.


In a fascinating symbiosis of art producing more art, the resulting fact is that the integration of a good photographer with the body-painting process instead of a person that simply captures and documents the finished artwork becomes paramount to both art forms.


Along similar lines, it is interesting to note how fine art body-painting is differently perceived in different cultures worldwide. South America certainly is more than one step ahead. From Chile to Venezuela body-painting is perceived as a full art form and you can find selected works in museums of modern art. Europe stands in stark contrast to this point of view and I am afraid it will take a few more years until the nimbus of "painting on tits" will be replaced by the word "artwork"!


All these are reasons why Bella Volen, Craig Tracy and Filippo Ioco founded "IFAB", the International Fine Art Body-Painting Association". Their goal is to find body-painting artists from all over the world that produce art that meets the requirements of "fine art body-painting".

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