The great interest of bodypainting seems to be the possibility it offers to directly ‘paint’ the reality (and what more perfect part of the real world than the human body ?) without, however, having to make any kind of representational work.
You don’t copy anything, you don’t try to imitate a model, or to reproduce on paper what you see. You don’t bother with representation anymore, you just put the paint on the bodies themselves, and the power of painting simply ‘shines’… In such case, the reality, the body, is used to its best potential in the service of the painting itself, not the other way around.
In this sense, the optimal kind of bodypainting would obviously be one that uses the human body as a support for any type of non-representational painting, or drawing. Using a body to paint a realistic scene on it can be funny, but would make much less sense. And of course, if you want to keep a memory of any bodypainting work, you’ll need a photographer.
Among the best of this kind is the work of Yasmina Alaoui. She doesn’t really ‘splash’ human bodies with paint, but the idea is the same. She paints the photographs already made by Marco Guerra, with layers of ink geometric drawings. Here, human bodies are not models to follow or imitate, they’re tools that are used by the artist to ‘push’ a drawing or a painting, to illuminate them !
Images : © Yasmina Alaoui / Marco Guerra