Margi Geerlinks – Crafting Humanity



These are two images from Dutch photographic artist Margi Geerlinks’ exhibition from 2006  “Crafting Humanity”: I’ve taken the two that relate particularly to girls’ experience, but one of the themes of the exhibition is that it covers all stages of human life, both sexes, and sometimes all in the same image:

“The subject of Geerlinks’ work is the human body, its creation and ephemeral nature. We encounter a woman knitting a baby, another embroidering a human ear, a man sewing a young boy with a sewing machine and a girl crocheting her own breasts. The manual work of knitting, embroidery and sewing brings us directly into the female realm. Even though her work alludes to the general presence of scientific manipulation, Geerlinks is suggesting that there is no cause for alarm. The viewer is presented with a sensation of discovery, fascination and calm. It all seems normal. Her work portrays universal emotions, the desire to grow up, the sadness, nostalgia that comes with confronting ones own aging body. In one portrait an old woman powders herself young again.

“Longing forward as opposed to longing backwards was a natural step” is how the artist explains the work of “Young Girl” [my sources call them “Young Lady I and II] where a girl is seen knitting her own future breasts.” (

Naturally, since the model isn’t fully dressed (she’s showing the crotcheted “breast” on her chest, so it makes sense), there was a censorship incident – 80,000 copies of the Dutch Railways Company’s “Rails” magazine were pulped for publishing the two pictures –  and this:


Google translates the company’s reason for doing this as that they could “harm the travelling public”: I’ll link to the Dutch original here.  Tell them that Elton John is a keen collector of her work. On the other hand, maybe not…..


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