Man sells his tattooed skin to art collector who will have him flayed when he dies

Christopher Hooton
Friday 03 February 2017 12:07
Comments

Tim Steiner has a work of art inked on him, but he’s only the “temporary frame”.

He was tattooed a decade ago by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye - know for his controversial work on pigs - the design on his back he volunteered to be the canvas for involving a haloed Madonna, a Mexican-style skull, swallows, rose, joe fish and children frolicking among lotus flowers and taking 40 hours to complete.

In 2008, the work, entitled TIM, was sold to German art collector Rik Reinking, with Steiner getting a third of the sum.

He currently exhibits the work in art galleries (and anywhere he has his shirt off, presumably), but the exhibitions won’t stop when he dies.

As part of the deal, Steiner has agreed to be skinned after his death, with his skin being permanently framed and residing in Reinking’s art collection.

A previous Delvoye exhibition involved seven stuffed and tattooed pigs (Photo: Getty)

"The work of art is on my back, I'm just the guy carrying it around," 40-year-old Steiner, from Zurich, told the BBC.

"My skin belongs to Rik Reinking now," he says. "My back is the canvas, I am the temporary frame."

Some may find this gruesome, but Steiner doesn’t see it that way.

"Gruesome is relative," he countered.

"It's an old concept - in Japanese tattoo history it's been done many, many times. If it's framed nicely and looks good, I think it's not such a bad idea.

"Tattooers are incredible artists who've never really been accepted in the contemporary art world. Painting on canvas is one thing, painting on skin with needles is a whole other story."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in