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Most Confusing Performance of 2014

On May 29 the Luxembourgian performance artist Deborah de Robertis visited Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, sat down in front of Gustave Courbet’s famous 1866 painting L’Origine du monde (Origin of the World), and recreated the iconic image in the flesh. In a video of the piece, titled Mirror of Origin, the artist can be seen dressed in a gold sequin dress, exposing her vagina while the museum’s security guards crowding around her and usher cheering visitors out of the gallery. The artist was eventually taken away by police. The museum and two of its guards have filed sexual exhibitionism complaints against the artist.

The artist was arrested for her bold move (she did not plan ahead with the museum to see if, you know, they’d be cool with her showing her vulva to unsuspecting kids and adults), but she managed to make her intentions known.


“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… 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.”

The applause of excited museum goers that can be heard during recorded footage of the act is enough to convince us. This black hole will suck you in.

Mirror of Origin is just the latest and most high-profile of De Robertis’s series staging similar performances at major art institutions including the Casino Forum of Contemporary Art and MUDAM, both in Luxembourg

Compilation from a text by Katherine Brooks, Senior Arts & Culture Editor of the Huffington Post.

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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