Sculp­tor sparks up­roar over 60-me­ter long ‘queen’s vagina’ art in­stal­la­tion at Ver­sailles

The China Post - - ARTS - BY MARC BURLEIGH

Bri­tish- In­dian sculp­tor An­ish Kapoor has sparked an up­roar in France by in­stalling a huge work he has called a “queen’s vagina” in the stately grounds of the Palace of Ver­sailles.

The 60-me­ter long, 10-me­ter high steel-and-rock ab­stract sculp­ture, re­sem­bling a fun­nel in the form of an ori­fice, is set up in the gar­den aimed di­rectly at the royal chateau, which at­tracts five mil­lion tourists a year.

Kapoor, 61, has ti­tled the work “Dirty Cor­ner.” It is part of an ex­hi­bi­tion of his work in the grounds of the 17th cen­tury palace that opens on Tues­day and runs un­til Novem­ber.

The artist, who has long courted con­tro­versy, told French news­pa­per Le Jour­nal du Di­manche a week ago that “Dirty Cor­ner” was meant to be bla­tantly sex­ual — and re­gal.

It was, he said, “the vagina of a queen who is tak­ing power.”

He didn’t say which queen he had in mind, but added that while the work was “am­bi­tious,” it was not so over-the-top as the scale of the op­u­lent Ver­sailles.

‘Strong con­tro­versy’

In­side the palace it­self is a smaller work — a can­non that fired red wax at white walls in a sym­bol of phal­lus and ejac­u­la­tion of blood.

Some French me­dia out­lets ex­pressed un­ease at the level of provo­ca­tion un­leashed by Kapoor.

“An­ish Kapoor pro­vokes a scan­dal,” said the web­site of ra­dio sta­tion Europe 1.

The con­ser­va­tive daily Le Fi­garo saw the work as an ef­fort “to use Ver­sailles as an ob­ject of con­trast be­tween two types of art”: the con­tem­po­rary style of Kapoor and the cen­turies-old el­e­gance of the French court.

Oth­ers came run­ning to the artist’s de­fense. Les In­rocks, a youth pop cul­ture mag­a­zine, said only a “fas­cist” cir­cle of com­men­ta­tors was against the sculp­ture.

Not Prob­lem­atic, Says Artist

At a me­dia con­fer­ence on Fri­day, the artist seemed to step away from his de­scrip­tion of the work on the lawns of Ver­sailles as “the queen’s vagina.”

“I don’t re­mem­ber say­ing it,” Kapoor told re­porters, but ad­mit­ted that he had used the word vagi­nas to de­scribe parts of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

In any case, he said, “I don’t see why it’s prob­lem­atic,” sex­ual or­gans be­ing uni­ver­sal.

“The point is to cre­ate a dia­logue be­tween th­ese great gar­dens and the sculp­tures,” he said.

The French of­fi­cial in charge of Ver­sailles, Catherine Pe­gard, said that what was of in­ter­est to Kapoor was “the hid­den chaos” of the gar­dens de­signed by An­dre Le Notre, the 17th cen­tury land­scape ar­chi­tect who de­signed its strict lines.

The man in charge of the ex­hi­bi­tion, Al­fred Pac­que­ment, said the gar­dens formed a con­trast­ing back­ground for Kapoor’s work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.