In some ways, the human body is a gallery for jewellery. We choose our jewellery to suit different clothes and different environments. And in doing so we also signal who we are, who we want to be, and perhaps also what we want to say. If you were to put on this item of jewellery by Stefan Heuser, you would have around your neck a rather crudely forged gold chain that is linked to…
Knut Astrup Bull:
… a small lump of human body fat, which Heuser sourced from a beauty clinic in Munich.
… explains Knut Astrup Bull, a senior curator at the National Museum.
Knut Astrup Bull:
Heuser has treated the lump to harden it, which has also given it a golden surface. It all has a very golden and refined appearance, and the lump of fat resembles a rather tempting, slightly golden-coloured morsel of sponge cake. But when you find out what the pendant is actually made of, it’s fair to say that it simultaneously seems pretty repulsive. Perhaps the main intention is to make us reflect on the significance of this piece of jewellery; perhaps the maker wants to steer us towards thinking about the western world’s obsession with beauty and the beauty industry … in that sense, the necklace is a symbol of an excess of body fat. In other words, something that we have too much of. Which perhaps also has something to do with our food culture in the western world – we have plenty of money and perhaps we binge on more and more sweet foods and move around less. This brings me to another satirical element here: subjecting oneself to a liposuction procedure is actually pretty expensive, so in fact this pendant is made from a rather costly material. And perhaps one could interpret it as an amulet. You’ve had this malign substance removed from your body, but now you carry it around with you as if it has some form of magical power that will ensure that you don’t lose your beauty.