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Klaus Pichler

Klaus Pichler - Fürs Leben gezeichnet.

Fürs Leben gezeichnet.


Herr. R., aus der Serie: Fürs Leben gezeichnet. Gefängnistätowierungen und ihre Träger

From the 1950s to the late 1980s, prisons played a major role in tattoo culture. The body decoration, reviled in the outside world, had a multitude of meanings for prison inmates, it was intensively integrated into the everyday life of the prisons and stood for the prisoners as proof that they could still dispose of their bodies themselves, whose freedom of movement had been taken away.
The treasure trove of motifs in tattoos reflected expressions of emotions and longings that could not be formulated in any other way in the world of prisons. But it was also a collection of secret signs that sealed membership in prison society and could only be read by the initiated. Tattoos as “honourable self-stigmatisation” also meant renouncing a middle-class existence after the period of imprisonment, as they were associated with criminality in the outside world and brought massive difficulties in the labour market. These skin marks, which were created under conditions of mental turmoil, physical torment and social fading out in prison and which draw carriers for life, draw us into worlds that are unwillingly entered when we look at them.
Over the past seven years, Klaus Pichler has portrayed around 150 former prisoners, who present an excerpt from the treasure trove of motifs in prison tattoos, give insight into the prison lifeworld and explain the background of tattooing in prison. This illustrated book documents a tradition that is dying out: prison tattooing in German-speaking countries.

Klaus Pichler, *1977 in Vienna, Austria. Lives and works in Vienna, Austria.


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