Máscara/Mask, 2004. Preserved pig’s bladder and thread, 12 x 6 x 5 in.

Heide Hatry: Skin Does Not Lie

Heide Hatry’s SKIN has landed in the center of an international dialogue with remarkable speed. The project, a multi-dimensional multimedia exploration of pigskin, has been exhibited in the artist’s native Germany, Spain, and Canada, as well as in Los Angeles and at the Goethe Institut in New York City. This fall, she will be collaborating with Carolee Schneemann in Performa 07.

Few contemporary artists have such a ready-made mythology woven into their material. Hatry’s identity-based art commands careful examination of the very nature of skin, complete with its symmetries of chaos. These works trace a personal history back to her upbringing on her father’s pig farm. Hatry’s first sculpture was a kind of effigy made of pig entrails, which she placed beside a tree for dogs to attack. In working out a primitive feminine rage through an art form improvised with the materials she knew best, Hatry was also initiating a fascination with pagan ritual that would later characterize her transformative performances.