• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Artist exposes genitals in Paris museum stunt

Sophie Inge · 3 Jun 2014, 15:27

Published: 03 Jun 2014 15:27 GMT+02:00

It's been over a century since Gustave Courbet painted the ‘L’Origine du Monde’, which depicts a close-up view of the genitals and abdomen of a naked woman with her legs spread, and the painting still has the ability to stir up controversy, it would seem.

Luxembourg-based visual artist Deborah de Robertis shocked visitors at Paris’s famous Musée D’Orsay with her own live representation of the 19th century painting late last month, France TV reported.

Accompanied by Schubert’s Ave Maria and dressed in a gold robe, the artist reportedly sat down in front of Courbet’s masterpiece where she assumed a similar pose to that of the original.

The X-rated, May 29th performance – entitled ‘Miroir de L’Origine’ (Mirror of the Origin) – was greeted with applause by bystanders, but museum staff weren’t so impressed.

In a video of the performance, which has since been removed from YouTube for violating the website’s terms of service, the artist is immediately approached by a security guard who tells her put an end to the performance.

When the artist refuses to cover herself, a security guard stands in front of her to hide her from view while another evacuates the room.

Visitors at Paris's Musée D'Orsay admire the original 'L'Origine du Monde'. Photo: Wikicommons 

According to the website Secondsexe, management at the museum alerted the police and de Robertis was held for questioning, but reportedly won't face criminal charges.

Story continues below…

There's something about Paris that seems to help artists separate themselves from their clothing. One of the most striking examples was the South African artist Steven Cohen, who ended up being convicted of sexual exhibitionism after a performance in front of the Eiffel Tower that saw him dance with a rooster tied to his penis.

"What I did was art (that) had nothing to do with sexuality," he had told the court, adding that no one - even a group of passing nuns - had complained about the performance.

“It was not the penis that was the focus,” Cohen had told the court. It was all to do with the expression of his identity – “a white male, homosexual and Jewish”, he told the court.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Hollande dealt major blow as jobless rate shoots up
Photo: AFP

The news could dissuade President François Hollande from even running for re-election.

Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,725
jobs available