Since the word "tattoo" comes from the Polynesian word Ta-Tau, meaning "to strike repeatedly", a process inflicted on the skin by a pigment-dipped needle resulting in a tattoo, "Art Soul Skin" is not for the faint-hearted. On display are life-size portraits, close-ups of the etching process as well as videos of academic discussions on the subject. At the show's opening today there will be an assortment of real-life tattooed torsos on show as aficionados battle for tattoo supremacy.
Wolverhampton's resident tattooist and piercer, the appropriately named Spike, helped to assemble the show and kindly donated his macabre-looking tools of the trade for display. Spike describes his clients as "a canvas to work on", while emphasising the permanent nature of the ritual. "Tattooing can be used as a rite of passage or initiation," he explains. "Once it has taken place, the experience can never be undone. It is a life-changing decision; tattooing should not be treated in a flippant way."
Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum, Lichfield St, Wolverhampton (01902 312032) today to 4 Oct