Beauty salon twist offers new perspective for art exhibition

Beauty salon twist offers new perspective for art exhibition
Christian Noelle Charles opens her exhibition What A Feeling Act 1 at Edinburgh Printmakers (Neil Hanna/PA)

A new art exhibition that has been made to look like a beauty salon where viewers are invited to look at works while sitting on salon chairs is set to open in Edinburgh.

American artist Christian Noelle Charles launches the show on Friday at Edinburgh Printmakers.

What A Feeling Act 1 will run until September 17.

Artworks are in place of salon mirrors, and a radio will play excerpts of conversations with the artist.

Christian Noelle Charles has set up her exhibition What a Feeling Act 1 as a beauty salon, replacing mirrors with her work (Neil Hanna/PA)

Ms Charles said she wanted to create a place of “relaxation and security” and a “new way of seeing”.

She said: “I grew up going to beauty salons. I have always got my hair done since I was a kid. And I wanted to create a place of relaxation, security, that sense of getting ready is like the whole social aspect of it.

“Creating these types of sets and installations change the perception of how people should look at art and also just feel relaxed in the space instead of analysing it too much.”

Ms Charles composed a series of screenprints that explore and convey the gestures of being judged, analysed, and satisfied within a format of salon.

Some examples of these gestures are hand crossing, lowering the glasses and tapping of the fingers.

Ms Charles added: “As a black American, I was raised through the sense of gathering where barbershops and beauty salons were a centre of community and neighbourhood.

“I feel like it is a good hybrid place to meet different cultures. In terms of black community in the African diaspora, salons were places of gathering that would do beauty or nails and was essential in terms of understanding one another, making sure that we look our best and what our culture represents from that.

Christian Noelle Charles with some of her artwork at the What A Feeling Act 1 exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers (Neil Hanna/PA)

“Also, the idea of the beauty salon was a younger and modern take on that sense of the salon when it comes to showcasing paintings or prints in a specific way. It’s a pun on ‘The Salon’ within a beauty salon.

“Since the work that I’ve been doing has been focused on getting ready and beauty and the essence of black women and how hard they work.”

Ms Charles currently lives in Glasgow after studying for a masters degree at Glasgow School of Art.

She is originally from Syracuse in New York.

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