press release

Ground-Breaking Art Installation, exploring the distressing condition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, from artist Leigh de Vries - September 26th 2015.

Exposure is an immersive, potentially disturbing, installation, debuting to the public at the Old Market Gallery in Rotherham, on September 26th 2015 (10am - 8pm) in association with Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance. 

The mixed media installation explores the little-understood medical condition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). During the exhibition period, creator and fellow sufferer, Leigh De Vries, is also engaging in Youth Outreach workshops and talks, to raise awareness of the condition which, only as recently as 2013, was recognised as being on the ‘obsessive-compulsive spectrum’, related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Are you worried about how you look?
How much time per day do you spend thinking about how your appearance?
What part of your body do you want to change?

For artist Leigh de Vries her appearance became an all-consuming obsession. Having developed body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in her early teens, she would spend hours in front of a mirror and isolate herself in her house due to a fear of scaring people. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a very debilitating condition in which sufferers develop the belief in that some aspect of their appearance, a bodily part or a bodily area, is defective in some way.

In her latest project Leigh now wants to raise awareness about the mental health condition.

“I want to help people better understand what BDD is and what it feels like to have the disorder. By creating the installation, I offer the viewer the possibility to navigate through the mind of a BDD sufferer.”

Exposure: The Broken Reality Tunnel of BDD is an installation, comprised of projected video footage in a custom designed maze-like structure of blacked-out passages. Utilising a variety of stimuli such as sensory deprivation and audio engineered sound elements, the audience is transported into and navigated through the reality tunnel of a BDD sufferers mind. 

Everyone has periods when they let negative thoughts about their appearance affect how they feel. We are all vulnerable to experiencing insecurity about how others ‘see’ us. This year saw the first ever National BDD conference in this country, where De Vries presented her video work to sufferers and professionals working in the field. People are starting to speak up about the condition. It’s time to bring BDD into the light, take the ‘shame’ out of it and start to break its grip. That means raising awareness and recognising the deeper issues and causes. Any help you can give us on raising awareness would be a wonderful thing. Thanks for reading.

Exposure: The Broken Reality Tunnel of BDD is sponsored by Arts Council, England and will be open to the public on 26th Sept 2015. 10am to 8pm

Youth Outreach Campaign

BDD manifests most severely amongst young people, often beginning in adolescence. From 21st-25th September, the installation will be open to invited groups of youths and BDD sufferers, with workshops afterwards around the subject of BDD.