Artist Documents the Preserved, Tattoo-Covered Skin of Deceased Prisoners

Polish artist Katazyna Mirczak shot these photographs of the 60 formaldehyde-drenched extractions.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Those with a weak stomach may want to look at Katarzyna Mirczak's latest photographs with caution. The Polish artist recently stopped by the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and shot these images of the preserved flesh of deceased Polish prisoners. These particular extractions are exhibited in the Body Art Archive so viewers can examine the intricate designs prisoners tattooed onto their own body. 

Though these photographs reveal a more personal aspect of prisoners in Poland and possibly even a secret criminal code used among inmates, there's something disturbing about the idea of human flesh being sliced off a dead body, to be preserved in a jar for display. Just look at those pores.

Nevertheless, these photos are still pretty fascinating. With limited supplies and conditions in prison, these inmates used whatever was available to them to puncture their skin. Often times, they implemented dangerous materials like paper clips, pins, wires, razor blades, even glass. For color, they used everything from pencil refills to burned rubber, often combining the makeshift pigments with water, urine, or soap. We can't decide if their method of tattooing is cringe-worthy or totally badass.

[via DesignBoom]

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