This has to be one of the most bizarre art-forms I’ve ever seen. Spanish artist David Cata has taken ‘hand embroidery’ to a whole new level. Using needle-and-thread, he embroiders portraits of people who have impacted his life on to his palms. He calls the series of works ‘a flor de piel’, which means ‘Under the Skin’.
You have to be a pretty intense person to be able to do something like this. Granted, he only embroiders the top layer of his skin, but it’s still got to hurt when he accidentally pierces his flesh! I watched two videos of his work – one where he sews on to his palm and the other where he (rather brutally) rips out the stitches. I really couldn’t finish watching the latter. Let’s just say that there was some blood involved.
According to David, Under the Skin is an “autobiographical diary” that is supported by his body. On it, he writes the story of his life. He says that he sews on the palm of his hand, “the faces of all the people who, somehow, have marked me throughout my life, family, friends, couples, teachers. Their lives are interwoven with mine to build my story, a story that ends when I run out of leaves to write about.”
On his website, David wrote: “Every people we meet makes us in some way. Their image projects on us, reminding us where we came from. Their lives turn into a part of ours. Every stitch over my skin represent them.”
“Every moment lived stays in the memory to be finally forgotten,” he said. “Somehow, this fact is painful, since there are only material things and traces that people leave behind.” I suppose it is this pain that David chooses to portray through his art. The embroidered palms seem to symbolize union and separation; pain and love.
“Physical pain is not a boundary,” David adds. “It unites us more by thinking that my hand has been marked, by thinking that, at that time, my hand has touched their hand.”
Photos: David Cata