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Last month we featured a project that was focused in the garment’s production process. The idea was to reveal the creation’s specific questions and motivations, which did not relate to a proposal of a brand inserted in the market.

This month, we have decided to follow the same line of work. We presented Colombian designer Susana Botero’s project, who reflects and generates an investigation through a production system that is placed between the limits of design and art.

The product of the Colombian artist’s investigation is the creation of a pattern for textile printing. This graphic element acquires meaning through the references and questions raised by the design practice’s social connotations.

The Cosmetic Stitch (By Susana Botero)

Individuals look at themselves in the mirror. They feel concerned about their well-being and “dressing well”, in order to feel good about themselves and accepted in the process of socialization. In this context, individuals wear themselves out transforming their physical appearance to achieve beauty standards imposed by fashion.

These established beauty codes are controlled by the market, which creates patterns, reference points and icons to imitate. Therefore the individual identities disappear and planned identities are sold through the advertisement of beauty practices. These include appalling surgical procedures, hair removal, facial cleansings and extreme tanning, to name a few. According to Gilles Lipovetsky (2005) and Mark Fisher (2012), contemporary societies live under constant contradictory conditions. We are at a time where the sale of products related to fitness is at its peak, however it is also a time of major problems with nutritional imbalance.

Beauty canons are imposed as absolute truths on individuals’ obsessed appearances. The market makes economic and productive use of the body and offers contrived beauties that reject the idea of “ugliness”. There is a dissatisfaction of the body hence it is redefined creating a relationship between the a real and an ideal identity.

The patterns are hand drawn based on the idea of mapping, fragmenting and then operating on the body. Drawings are made from close-ups of plastic surgeries that have completely distorted the face, transformed an attribute (such as hair implants), caused irritation or unpleasant wounds. Then they are digitally printed or hand embroidered, making a relation with the clinical stitch and the traditional tapestry or embroidery.

This project does not reject beauty standards but it contemplates and questions them. It shows their abject and painful side and embellishes them. The processes to “be more beautiful”, for instance the skin being cut or the post-op, are aesthetically rejected even by the body itself, but the final image is accepted. In plastic surgery the limits between the external and internal are eliminated. Organs, fluids and skin come in contact with each other and at the same time they are modified.

The textile samples attempt to cause a contrasting reaction in the observers, who feel drawn by the softness of the textiles, but then reject them when they realise that what they are looking at are parts of a cosmetic surgery in progress. The same beautifying process in a despicable and contemptible phase, avoided by our sense of sight.

Trough this project, the author wants to cause a contrasting reaction in the observers: they feel attracted by the softness of the textiles and the delicacy of the embroidery but then repelled by the pattern used.

The images seek to trace the path of the designer’s creative process. At the same time, through meticulous framing and a clean, almost clinical, image, there is an intention to create tension in the difficult relationships that are established between the referents chosen by Susana and the final aesthetic object.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Rosario Montero *Contrahilo editor · WEB · Otro portafolio realizado por Rosario.

DISEGNER: Susana Botero · WEB