Silk tapestries inspired by Russian prison tattoos featured in new Williamsburg exhibit


WILLIAMSBURG – Russian prison ink can be an art and an Argentinian tattoo artist would love to prove it to you.

Joaquin engine, 30, a tattoo artist from Buenos Aires, will display his collection of silk tapestries edged with “raw and violent images” of tattoos from the Russian prison in Williamsburg this weekend.

“Memories Of Them: Drawings From Inside The Cage”, was inspired by a collection of DIY tattoos of Russian prisoners that the artist found in a Buenos Aires bookstore about five years ago, a said Motor.

“Each design had a meaning,” Motor said of the iconic tattoo work. “You could read a person’s life through their body tattoos.”

The huge black silks, which will be hung in Williamsburg’s Black flower from June 3-10, are meant to explore the contrast between the prisoners’ brutal imaginations and their use of a delicate and vulnerable web – their own bodies, Motor said.

“Silk is a soft material and maybe a bit brittle – it creates the opposite situation with a rough design,” Motor explained. “The straight, stiff white line with the black silk is a contrast.”

The Black flower tattoo parlor – which hosts artists from Turkey, France, Russia, Italy and more – will display Motor’s work in its art gallery, where owners will showcase artwork examining places where cultures clash.

“We want to celebrate the low-brow and high-brow art culture that tattooing is developing right now,” said Fleur Noir spokesperson Morgan English. “The more we can build this conversation, the better off our industry will be.”

The week-long exhibition will begin with a party at Fleur Noire at 439 Metropolitan Ave. Saturday June 3 from 8 p.m. to midnight, organizers said.

The tapestries, which range in price from $ 300 to $ 1,000, will hang on the frameless walls behind the various tattoo stations and there will also be $ 20 to $ 30 prints available for purchase.

As the shop will close tattoo production during the event, guests inspired by Motor’s work are encouraged to return, as Motor will be “invited” to the show next week.

Motor hopes the exhibit challenges viewers to take a closer look at the tattoos they see in the world around them.

“Every physical tattoo has a reason,” Motor said. “Maybe some people are more open to sharing reason, but everyone has a story.”

Header images courtesy of Fleur Noire.

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