June 9, 2014

Art or Crime: Performance artist Deborah De Robertis re-enacts Courbet's "L'origine du monde" in Musee d'Orsay

Performance artist Deborah De Robertis in Musée d'Orsay
(Luxemburger Wort, screenshot of YouTube video)
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

As reported by Luxemburger Wort last week in "Luxembourg artist flashes Paris museum-goers", performance artist Deborah De Robertis exposed her female genitalia in front of Gustave Courbet's L'origine du monde (1866) in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris on May 29:
Dressed in a gold sequin dress, the artist walked into the museum on May 29, sat down below the painting and spread her legs to reveal her vagina in a reflection of the artwork, which shows a woman's genitals and abdomen under the title The Origin of the World. A museum guard alerted police who took De Robertis into custody for indecent exposure. However, the prosecution decided not to press charges and the Luxembourg artist was released. Speaking to wort.lu, De Robertis explained that her performance was not simply an act of exhibitionism, but a reflected action, creating a new tableau in play with the original artwork. An invitation to the performance, distributed to a limited number of people, said that De Robertis aims to destabilise power relations, as well as reflecting on relationships between men and women, and artists and control over their work.
The video De Robertis posted on YouTube shows the performance artist somberly performing while two security guards engage with the artist and a supportive -- as evidenced by their clapping -- audience. Museum officials are shown to be clearing the room while the artist performs.

Here another video shows the new gallery at the Musée d'Orsay dedicated to the larger paintings by Gustave Courbet -- and a close up of the controversial L'origine du monde which entered the French national collection in 1995. It was originally in the collection of Khalil-Bey, an Ottoman diplomat and art collector. Last year, the foremost Courbet scholar claimed to have found the "face" of "L'Origine du Monde".

1 comments:

Why on Earth is this considered "criminal"?! I love this! And I get it!
This is very smart and witty! Good for her!
The painting and her performance have put a big smile on my face!
But they botched the motion imaging.
Out of focus, people walking into the shot, not organizing the action, and centering on her rather than her and the painting.
This could have been done better.
But, witty and brave! And the FRENCH are upset about this?!
I guess Sarkozy and the right and the EP election have "left" a legacy there!

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