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Tianying Li

Done in THE BODY studio advised by Diana Agrest

A thin layer of skin separated exterior and interior identities. In its appearance, the inscribed body becomes a mask. This is the case of the Geisha that this project critically explores.


The mask allows the Geisha to hide her identity so as to be integrated into another radically different reality within a mythologically defined order and to incarnate as a new character. The Geisha, hiding behind her mask, performs and lives simultaneously with her split identities: one as an ordinary woman, the other as the distillation of a certain ideal of femininity. This idealized character has been constructed physically through a modified body, and socially through its daily behaviors. This desired female, infantilized, decorated, and masked into the “otherness,” is subjugated to the male. Despite this, the incarnated identity of this bodily mask in turn shields the real one. Both identities can be read through the inscription on her body.

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