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A hospital bed, medical apparatus, a landscape; a blackboard with a list of names crossed out, a calendar; gym equipment, a house plant, a stool; a corridor, clothes hung on a peg, a broom. The titles not only indicate the type of space involved — a maternity ward, a beauty parlor, a crematorium, a bomb shelter — but also where they are located.
When a title is divorced from its image, however, the viewer is at pains to say just what kind of space is depicted. A spectator who ignores the titles begins to realize that the spaces depicted share a large number of characteristics. In many ways, these interiors are all somewhat similar and even seem interchangeable. Body Shops is about human beings although one hardly ever sees a human presence.
What is shown are spaces devoted to the care of the body. Clinics for cosmetic surgery, morgues, and gyms — the environments photographed by Lipscher show us places where the human being is both omnipresent and totally absent. Equipment, machines, and pieces of furniture dominate settings that look like stage sets. Lipscher depicts environments where the body undergoes treatment, whether pleasurable or painful, in order to ensure its well-being.
Maternity wards exist to take care of us at the beginning of our lives, beauty parlors to comfort us, gyms to build up our muscles, brothels to give pleasure, cosmetic surgery clinics to correct our imperfections, bomb shelters to protect us, morgues to examine our dead bodies and crematoriums to reduce us to dust.
Lipscher photographs a world that looks after the human being from birth to death. Body Shops — shops for bodies — form a topography of the body in contemporary society. These interiors have been designed to fulfill a particular function and have no individual character, apart from rare exceptions such as the storage room full of coffins that has been decorated with posters of mountain landscapes.