Nestled inside flimsy black fishnet stockings that droop heavily from the ceiling, hundreds of breast implants made by a firm whose faulty products sparked a global health scare have been turned into an art installation in the French city of Marseille.
The aptly punned “PIP Show” by artist Camille Lorin, which opens late on Saturday, comes just days after France launched a high-profile trial against five managers from the PIP company who stand accused of using sub-standard, industrial-grade silicone implants.
An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received the implants, which some health authorities say are twice as likely to rupture as other brands.
With her one-night display as part of events to mark Marseille’s year as the European Capital of Culture, Lorin said she wanted to shift the focus from the legal proceedings to the silicone enhancers themselves, and the pressure on women to be beautiful.
Each implant, glowing like an orb in the show’s eery blue light, threatens to tear through the fine stocking, which is stretched almost to breaking point.
“Hold-ups represent femininity and yet are something fragile which can break,” Lorin said, reflecting on the ruptures suffered by women with faulty implants, 5,000 of whom are registered as plaintiffs in the case against the executives from the now-defunct PIP.
She added that her focus was “not really the trial or the scandal” but on the pressures to have cosmetic surgery.
Handling the silicone was “quite complicated”, said the 32-year-old.
“It’s actually quite something to manipulate the implants, it brings up questions that are sensitive and private”.