I can’t imagine this tattoo would go down well in Iraq.


You can’t help feeling itchy when you walk around Skin, the current exhibition at the Wellcome Institute in London.

Its subject matter is what holds us all together and is a curious mix of drawings, photographs and curiosity objects dedicated to the body’s largest organ.

These exhibits range from 19th century ecorche drawings of skinned anatomical bodies, a Peruvian mummy in desperate need of a glass of water and several books bound in human skin.

The effect of age and disease on the birthday suit is well represented with some queasy photographs and illustrations guaranteed to get you scratching.

The poster boy of the exhibition is the heavily tattooed face of Mr Green. He stares moodily from a photograph taken in a South African jail illustrating the significance of gang related tattoos with inmates often using ground-up bricks and batteries as pigment for their ink.

Skin’s other ghoulish delights included patches of tattooed skin cut from the bodies of French convicts, illustrations of various medical sutures and a great book on Russian prison tattoos.

Skin runs until late September.

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