Yes – Deborah Lam
For those of you who are a bit squeamish, look away, take a deep breath, and then look again. An artist must suffer for his art, and David Catá just happens to take that a little more literally than others.
Unlike much controversial performance art, Catá’s work has both clear aesthetic value in the visual sense and manages (quite literally) to interweave the lives of people significant to him into his own.
Although less self-destructive, to transpose Catá’s work onto a harmless canvas would be to defeat the purpose entirely – as art is a very personal means of self-expression, what makes this undeniably powerful is the fact that he chose this medium willingly. No other canvas would be able to translate the same transient quality that is so integral to Catá’s message.
No – Grace Marsh
Yes, David Catá’s final products may look pretty, but I can’t help focusing on how he is harming his own body in the process. This may be a performative scar and only mild skin damage, but it is still self-harm.
For me, Catá’s actions are purely attention seeking. How can such an experience be worth the pain? I don’t feel that Catá will feel a stronger personal and emotional bond with his loved ones whether he uses his body as a canvas by sewing portraits onto his hand or using a piece of material; his memories of these people are still captured in a physical manner regardless.
Essentially, there are less painful ways of imprinting the memories of your loved ones in your life. Self-mutilation is not art.