Replace Clothes with Paint is not only the name of Neil Curtis’ performance series, but it’s an effective motto for his art, which is based on a colorful exploration of man’s body.
The Vienna-based artist covers human skin, from head to toe, using up to 10 layers of paint during what’s often an exhausting session for his models.
Inspired by performance and experimental art of Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism) of the late 1960’s, Curtis tries to subvert general conformism, freeing people from the ‘clothes’ that limit their daily life.
‘It’s a symbolic transition,’ Curtis says, ‘from a world defined by the social rules we all living in, to the “art world” of my theoretical body painted-world.’
Another side-effect of his work is braving the fear of nudity during an art process whereby models normally become ever more participative, losing any kind of inhibition.
‘The most personal part of the body is the face,’ the artist says. ‘If you also cover the face, the body starts to be quite magical in his appearance. It’s like removing the person and turning it into someone totally different’.
Photos courtesy Neil Curtis.