Newcastle University has succeeded in creating human-cow embryos. These “cybrids” (cytoplasmic embryos) are created by inserting human DNA into cow eggs. Research projects like these push the boundaries of malleability in a way that can also be seen in the field of surgical-aesthetic medicine. The ethical implications of these developments are under debate worldwide.
Perfection vs beauty
In this project, I intend to shed light on the pursuit of perfection, the key question being to what extent perfection is an intrinsic quality of beauty.
First I design a “perfect” face, using several heads of top models to compose a new – fictional – head. In order to create the composition, I use the golden ratio, or the number Phi (1.618…), which is often seen in the proportions of people, animals and plants. People – unconsciously – experience this ratio as “pleasant”. Then, I mirror the faces to create identical left and right face-halves. The striking result is that the faces lose their humanity.
With an allusion to the hybrid experiments, I work on cowhide. The random patches on the hide cause the face-halves to differ from each other even more, which has an alienating effect on our interpretation process.
This project reflects on shifting bouderies in contemporary research and aesthetic surgery and highlights the changing perceptions of beauty, while defining and distinguishing natural beauty and artificial beauty.
Hybrid Pb01, studio 2016
Hybrid MR1, studio 2014
mixed media on cowhide, 160 cm x 160 cm
Hybrid MB2, studio 2013
mixed media on cowhide, resin, 160 cm x 160cm, private collection
Room X, studio 2015
mixed media, cowhide, 250 cm x 500 cm