A precious skin – Victoria Ledig

by Rossella Locatelli


In the common English language there are two terms which can be used to translate the Italian word “pelle”: skin and leather. These two nouns cannot be considered as synonym, in fact, if that were the case, it would mean that there is no difference at all between an organic matter and the same matter after some hand-crafted or industrial processes which have turned it into something completely different from its original condition.

The thesis by Victoria Ledig, a former student at the Design Academy Eindhoven, makes us think about this contrast, which is rarely perceived by consumers. Precious Skin (2012) is not an accommodating dissertation. We could call it even cruel in its refined synthesis:  a series of bags, pouches and cases made with waste leather scrap generated by the leather industry. Thinking of them as sophisticated forms of recycling is not the right perspective. Actually we find ourselves cornered, we are forced into a disquieting dimension, which Freud used to call “that sort of fearsome feeling generated by what we have known for a long time and we are familiar with”.

Ledig removes all accessories and decorations, reduces the production treatments as much as possible and gets rid of all the details which characterize the traditional leather goods. There are very few seams, no zip, pockets or buttons. The closing systems are always leather strips. The final result is gorgeous and cruel: the leather remains extremely soft, the desire to touch it grows more and more, yet we stop… as something disturbs us. Isn’t that point, that feels so soft, a thickening of the skin around the joints? Or maybe a part of the bovine muzzle from which the leather comes?

This reflection makes us feel uncomfortable, and suddenly the pure material pops up: the skin. Uncovering its beauty it reminds us the origin of everything and the true natural appeal of the leather object.

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