It is Fashion Week in Milan, and perhaps it is no coincidence that this week was chosen to present the “Unwearable Collection” exhibition created by the American artist Bart Hess, which will be hosted at the Dynamic Art Museum until September 23rd. The title is provocative, because it obviously does not refer to fashion: it is in fact part of the project “On My Skin: living with GPP”, an acronym that stands for generalized pustular psoriasis (from the English Generalized Pustular Psoriasis), a disease that represents approximately 1% of all cases of psoriasis and which affects at least 150 people in Italy.
A rare skin pathology, therefore, which in addition to the physical pain due to skin rashes, leads to loneliness, isolation and uncertainty also due to a lack of awareness on the topic and the lack of dedicated clinical paths. This is therefore the reason for the project: a ‘collection’ consisting of five sculptures designed to represent some aspects of the experience of patients. The initiative aims to shine a spotlight on the impact that GPP can have on people’s health and lives, inviting the public to “put yourself in their shoes”.
A difficult disease to recognize
Generalized pustular psoriasis is a serious disease, and especially very extensive forms can cause potentially lethal complications, which in some cases require access to the emergency room and hospitalization in intensive care. Mortality data in studies of patients with GPP are limited, but rates ranging from 3% to 7% have been reported. Diagnosing GPP, among other things, is not easy: to distinguish it from similar conditions, laboratory tests, a careful evaluation of skin symptoms, the clinical course and potential triggering factors are necessary. The difficulty in recognizing the disease very often leads to a delay in diagnosis (even years) and therefore in access to therapies, with negative repercussions on the physical and mental and psychological well-being of patients. “On My Skin: Living with GPP” aims to leverage the coalition between patient associations, professionals, scientific societies, companies and institutions, with the common goal of bringing into the open the unmet needs of people with GPP.
The contest associated with the exhibition
The exhibition, for the first time in Italy after having toured the world, also inspired a contest dedicated to the students of the Accademia del Lusso in Milan. The five projects most representative of the experience of patients suffering from GPP will be paraded at the vernissage of the “Unwearable Collection”, during which the winning project will be awarded.
“It is not the first time that our Association explores contexts other than those of health to amplify information and raise awareness of skin pathologies,” he says Valeria Corazza, president of APIAFCo: “For example, in the past we created a photographic project starring a patient with generalized pustular psoriasis, to show everyone what this disease is, what it means to live with it, what it means to have it on your skin. The new initiative involving the students of the Academy of Luxury and Fashion does not directly show the disease, but symbolically illustrates its physical and psychological effects: a first step that is certainly useful in bringing public opinion closer to our world and trying to understand it better.”