Modified: The power of body art

Warning: some moderately graphic images

It was early evening around supper time when the doors to the exhibit swung open. The arrivals were a bit slow at first, but there was plenty of time to admire the beautiful, edgy artwork.

The exhibit’s theme, a topic seldom discussed, is called Modified and its theme needs no introduction. Body modifications, seen as taboo in many places, are growing in popularity in urban cities.

No matter your walk of life, the identity carved through blood, sweat and tears is the same for everyone. When you sit down on that chair, lay down on that table, everyone is truly equal.

We all suffer for it. That much is true. But the result is arguably, one of the most pronounced forms of expression, and modern beauty that unifies us all under the banner of this modified subculture.

Some may call it a sex-thing, others discriminate. But like all things beautiful, art appeals to some, not all. All prejudices aside, though, Modified brings to light this form of beauty from the raw to the erotic.

Jennie Philpott, the artist behind the paintings is presenting her art at the Rats9 gallery at 372 Ste-Catherine Ouest, door #530. It may not be a museum, but each piece reverberates with meaning, oozes style and shows us a topic that’s seldom explored.

But the first night didn’t end with the art. As of 8 p.m., the venue began to fill with the audience who had come to look earlier, and new, interested parties. On the first night, a frontal suspension presentation was scheduled in honor of the exhibit’s opening.

Pat Pierce (from Mauve piercing studio here in Montreal) and his volunteer model for the presentation, Lynne Quesnel, made their way to the venue, with the tools they would need to make it happen.

The hooks were no joke, and these would be used to hold the weight of the model for the duration of the suspension. Four hooks in total would be used.


When the preparation was complete, the piercing began.

Pain was on the menu, but so was the rush of adrenalin and endorphin that comes with it. As each of the hooks effortlessly made their way through the professionally selected spots on Lynne’s body, her expression changed from pained, to relieved and finally settled on euphoric.

Once all four hooks were in place, a few brief minutes were given for Lynne to recuperate. This was her fourth time doing such a presentation, and not once was there hesitation or fear in her eyes.

No more than a few minutes later was she standing up, walking amongst the crowd, as if the hooks had always been a part of her. She sipped on some water to keep hydrated. Comfortable or not, there’s some loss of blood, and it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated.

The suspension began, no more than half an hour later. Pat adjusted the rope and slowly, meticulously checking with Lynne to make sure that everything was alright.

Unflinching, and with a smile, she confirmed that everything was good to go.

Thirty minutes, she spent on the ropes. Pat shortening their length progressively, and the presentation carrying on with the crowd in stunned, appreciative silence.

As the presentation came to close, and Pat was getting ready to cut the ropes, the last round of pictures were taken by the audience.

A rush of emotions surged through Lynne after the ropes were taken out. Exhausted, but satisfied. A round of applause followed, as the crowd complimented her and Pat for the beautiful performance that complimented the exhibit’s grand opening.

Even if you harbour no piercings or tattoos of your own, Modified has a powerful message that spends no time trying to hide from onlookers. It’s bold, beautiful and powerful, and the suspension that happened on opening night served as a perfect crowning point to this awesome, unforgettable exhibit.



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