Image and text courtesy of Ellen Smeets from her series Happiness is a Warm Scalpel.
“When an ugly baby was born from a fine looking couple, the father got suspicious. He found out that the beauty of his wife was the result of a 75,000 euro plastic surgery procedure. He filed a lawsuit against her on the basis of fraud and won 90,000 euro in damages. Our visual society has a major impact on the way we perceive the world and how we see ourselves. The media is jam-packed with idealized images that gradually become a benchmark of the ordinary. This questions the complex relationships between the functioning of the body on the one hand and luxurious alternations to that body on the other. At the core of my research are both the perverse nature of the possibilities and extensive fields of applications available in the medical market on a global context. I am looking at the grey areas between the luxurious and necessary of these physical interventions. By using metaphors, staged photographs and atmospheric images, I’m trying to construct a non-narrative visual story. I’m interested in creating a new world in which the viewer can link the images to each other. The photographs therefore can transcend the literal fidelity and create a surrogate world. The ability of images to fade the border between reality and fiction is part of the research”.