Cristin Richard is in the movement of artists whose work is related to the body and identity. Her work examines the human condition and the fact that the body is physically and mentally determined in this condition. It is thus the window of our relation to the world. She transcribes her own personal story through impulses to existential questions.
In this particular work, The Political Aesthetics of the Skin, Richard plays with fashion, sculpture, performance and social commentary in order to bring forth these beautifully made gowns that resemble the look and feel of human skin.
Here, Richard is interested in examining the body, personal identity, as well as sculptural objects in a subtle but powerful way. She explores these themes by creating sculptural dresses that resemble skin color and skin textures made out of animal intestines. Richard’s usage of organic material, is what gives her looks the means to exist as throughly manipulated pieces, an obvious detail that makes her fashion garments have more of a sculptural feel than just regular fashion pieces. After creating the dresses, the Detroit based artist puts together an elegant performance that include women of several skin shades; she purposely finds models that perfectly match the dresses’ skin color tones. Although her pieces are wearable and highly fashionable, here, the dresses go beyond trends.
With the idea of fashion as sculpture, Cristin Richard blurs the line between fine art and fashion. She believes that fashion allows one to create a second skin. It provides an escape that is rooted in the truth to one’s own identity. One can transform themselves into whatever makes them feel good, allowing them to approach society in their own unique way. Through these observations, the artist develops and analyzes the subject of the appearance of one’s self, and also that of one another.