Performance Artist Deborah de Robertis Does Impromptu Reenactment of Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World
“If you ignore the context, you could construe this performance as an act of exhibitionism, but what I did was not an impulsive act,” she explained to Luxemburger Wort. “There is a gap in art history, the absent point of view of the object of the gaze. In his realist painting, the painter shows the open legs, but the vagina remains closed. He does not reveal the hole, that is to say, the eye. I am not showing my vagina, but I am revealing what we do not see in the painting, the eye of the vagina, the black hole, this concealed eye, this chasm, which, beyond the flesh, refers to infinity, to the origin of the origin.”
Decidedly NSFW, FYI. The video is of a woman baring her vulva and vagina in front of a crowd viewing a painting of a woman with an exposed vulva.
There’s a part of me that said, “So what?” when I first saw this, but then I read the linked HuffPost story, and realized the subtlety of de Robertis’s performance here.
The museum guards make an effort to shield her from view, whilst they call the police. Sexual exhibitionism charges were filed against her.
…while the entire time, on the wall, there was a painting with essentially the same subject matter that was made in 1866 and was not being shielded nor arrested nor having any charges filed against it.
Whatever de Robertis may have meant to reveal by her performance, she revealed one thing that is quite obvious:
The glaring hypocrisy of the supposedly “edgy” art world.