remember that old public speaking trick where
in order to deflect your own personal embarassment,
you picture everyone else in the room naked?
well, it seems that new york based. italian artist,
has taken that advice a little too literally
in her large scale performance art,
which consists (almost always) of live nude female models,
with a splash of painting, photography and video,
and of course, fashion.
these artisitically staged performances,
which have taken place all over the world since 1993,
are something that must be witnessed in person to understand,
and which photography alone simply cannot capture.
vanessa beecroft's performances, which are almost
scientifically titled, vb01, vb02, vb03..etc.
are usually made up of groups of 20 to 30 women,
of all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds,
dressed uniformly in costumes of brightly colored wigs,
nylons, body paint, and pieces donated from
designers like prada, ford and manolo blahnik.
vb 35, guggenheim (gucci bathing suits)
the polla sisters, 2001 (allesandro dell'acqua body suits)
she then arranges them in rows and configurations,
which they are to stand in, quietly, for about three hours.
the models are not given much direction beyond
being asked not to appear too sexy or to move too quickly,
and they are allowed to sit and relax if they get tired.
the impetus behind beecroft's performance art was to
create a tension between what is real and what is artificial.
rather than giving you a painting of a nude model,
which is always coming from one artist's perpsective,
why not give you the still.life itself,
so that you may witness it in your own way?
why not turn the powerful gaze,
(which is usually the privilege of the viewer)
back onto the audience?
a self proclaimed, "exercise bulimic,"
who instead of throwing everything up,
strives to use up every last bit of energy,
vanessa beecroft has been obsessing over
food since she was a little girl.
her first performance, vb01, in 1993,
was centered around her food diary,
which tracked everything she had eaten for years,
and sometimes days in which she
would only eat food of one color the whole day.
her performances, although provocative,
are a way to make her shame visible,
she uses her models, dressed and arranged like paper dolls,
as surrogates to act out her feelings,
and maybe to overcome her inner turmoil.
"it's art; it's fashion. it's good; it's bad.
it's sexist; it's not."