Venus of the Rags

This performance is the incarnation in action of the well-known installation by Michelangelo Pistoletto entitled Venus of the Rags from 1967. I regard this installation as a confrontation between the classical and traditional (in terms of both the visual and values) and the new, undifferentiated, and abstract, and an exploration of the contradiction between the “high” and the “low”, between Venus and a pile of garbage. However, this is not any old garbage. These are the clothes in which Venus, as an archetype of the vain woman or simply woman as such, might swathe herself. What if this were last season’s haute couture that has been discarded, placed on a par with the substandard? In this performance fashion functions as a symbol of the consumer obsession with newness and a disposable lifestyle. A woman who stands in front of the mirror trying on more and more clothes at a certain moment becomes ridiculous and foolish. Fashion is ephemeral and superficial, desire nourished by advertising. The line between desire and obsession is as fine as that between what is and is not garbage, between rags and a luxury fashion item. Finally, this contextualization is about the situation of the artist and contemporary art itself, the status of which oscillates between garbage and haute couture.

1 October 2015,  A.K.T. V – International festival of performance art, The Brno House of Arts.
Thanks for lending us clothes to Diakonie Broumov.

Photo Michaela Dvořáková.