The viewer is meant to have a transformative intellectual experience, reimagining conceptions of femininity and childbearing (or something). But if you want the full experience—in pornographic detail—it will cost you €5 to watch the “uncensored” version online. Truly transformative experiences don’t come for free, after all. Despite her clunky metaphors, Moiré, like most performance artists, must tell us the “meaning” of her work, lest the viewer misunderstand its seriousness.
Put obliquely by Moiré, “within the context of art (performance), commerce (art fair) and opinion creation (media) a deliberate-accidental creation act happens, which instantly provokes ambivalent interpretations.” Judging by the reactions of fair-goers, Moiré failed to provoke much ambivalence. But she certainly managed to provoke attention. And therein lies the truth about contemporary performance art: it encourages people to do ever more outrageous things, resulting in spectacles that resemble not so much an ironic Theater of the Absurd as a bad TV game show. From American artist Karen Finley, who made her reputation smearing her naked body in chocolate syrup, to stunt artists like Moiré, achieving fame in the world of performance art requires courting controversy in increasingly heavy-handed ways. But in the end, no one is talking about the message the artist is trying to make. Indeed, many of the news outlets reporting on Moiré’s stunt paid little attention to the resulting canvas. Moiré has created a conversation, but it’s one that ends with an obvious conclusion: performance art is mostly bullshit.