Musée du Quai Branly - Tatoueurs, Tatoues
"The art of tatoueurs runs far and deep throughout the historical archives, popping up in feudal Japan, centuries of Russian prison culture, early Roman civilizations and Native American tribes. Over the years, the tattoo has served as a mark of dishonor in one hemisphere and a sign of social prestige in another, a badge of courage in both the military and criminal realms.
Tattoos of yesteryear are essentially anthropological road signs, providing glimpses into the behaviors and rituals of peoples past. Even Otzi, that Iceman from 3,000 BC, lay claim to 50 prehistoric tattoos. And the word itself tattoo owes its origins to the Polynesian tatau observed by Captain Cook’s crew in the 18th century. Covet an indelible design today, and you’re harkening back to a practice performed by our earliest ancestors.
A new exhibit at the Musée du Quai Branly is paying homage to the world’s past and present obsession with tattoos, in the aptly titled show Tatoueurs, Tatoues.
Presenting over 300 contemporary and historical works of body art, the exhibition is a rich trek through the emergence, growth and commercialization of the tattoo. From photographs to silicone ‘body extracts’ to body suits, the works on display reveal the intricate aesthetic and specialized skill that’s long gone into tattooing.”