By: Myrte Brander en Lisa Sweere
- Eskil Ronningsbakken, Bike balance upside down on a 12 mm wire in 1000 m height, Kjerag Norway
Eskil states his balancing-acts aren’t stunts, but a form of artistic expression. By cycling naked over a chord and standing on his head during the ride, he wants to express how vulnerable mankind is in relation to mother earth.
- Petr Pavlensky, Fixation (2013).
It’s nearly impossible to choose from all shocking artworks by performance artist Petr Pavlensky. This Russian uses radical ways of enticing people to rebel against the repressive Russian government. For his work Fixation, he nailed his scrotum to the Red Square. On behalf of all the men, and the women equally so, we can say: ouch. Really, really, ouch.
- Tinkebell, My dearest cat Pinkeltje (2004).
According to Dutch artist Tinkebell her cat Pinkeltje was depressed and couldn’t be alone. By strangling her cat and making it into a bag, she could carry her beloved cat with her at all times. ‘And killing animals for consumption is equally cruel, right?’. Still, a lot of people felt bad for poor Pinkeltje and the artist received many death threats, which she published.
- Chris Burden, Shoot (1971).
Chris Burden was a sculptor. Not much of an aggressive profession, until he decided to let a friend shoot him at the age of 25. The idea was to just be grazed by a bullet, but the bullet entered deep into his left arm. Burden should be lucky that this performance, meant as a protest against the Vietnam war, didn’t proof to be fatal.
- Guillermo Vargas Jiménez, Eres Lo Que Lees (“You Are What You Read”) (2007).
In 2007 artist Guillermo Vargas Jiménez from Costa Rica caused quite a stir when he displayed an emaciated dog at an art gallery in Nicaragua. Despite the dog’s begging eyes, visitors of the exhibition were forbidden to move the full food bowl which was just out of the dog’s reach. But be honest; do you give every homeless person you encounter something to eat?
- Damien Hirst, Mother and child divided (1993).
Who doesn’t know Hirst’s famous diamond skull? But the British artist also has a fascination for stuffed animals. Just recently he purchased a full collection of animal preparations, including pelicans, ibises and swans. Side note: mother and child are literally separated because they are cut in half. Nice pun, right?
- Marina Abramovic, Nude with skeleton (2002-2005).
Abramovic is one of the pioneers in Performance Art, in which the human body is used as art. To highlight just one thing from her repertoire: during her performing art piece Rhythm o, Abramovic handed her audience a knife, gun and scissors. The result was that she barely survived the performance. She also carved a pentagram in her stomach. So this photo is on the soft side, really.
- Jana Sterbak, Vanitas; Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic (1987).
A meat dress? Not so shocking after Lady Gaga’s piece. But the title of the piece is more stirring: albino anorectic is without a doubt about vulnerability. In 1987, people were very offended by the work. The critique was that it was a waste of both food and tax payers’ money. It’s a contradiction, to say the least, that people protested by sending bits of meat to the art gallery. But all Jana wanted to do was make a feministic statement.