Venus in Besiktas

This performance that I realized at the Besiktas Market was the next step after the guerilla museum performance in Vienna. I tried to sell underwear featuring the Willendorf Venus in one of the biggest and best-known markets of Istanbul, the Besiktas Market. The goal was to be able to get feedback from women. I tried to talk about how this figure was actually erotic and beautiful— the Venus of Willendorf being a symbol of fertility is only a presumption. But this proved more difficult than I thought. Women are shy about the female figure. This made me think that many women are somehow removed from their own figures, their own bodies. The next step formulated itself at the market place as it was here that I decided to use the female figure as an object of pleasure for women. The Besiktas performance took approximately 13 hours. I was able to sell only 4 out of 101 underwear.

The conversation and talks during the sale were recorded by audio recorder and camera.

2014, Istanbul

the film is below.

The text on the flyer is:

“The Venus of Willendorf, exhibited at Naturhistorischen Museum, Vienna, is estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. It was found in 1908 by a workman, during excavations at a Paleolithic site near Willendorf. Belonging to an ancient past and having exaggerated female forms have established the ‘Venus’ of Willendorf as an icon of Prehistoric Art. Venus of Willendorf is an erotic figure according to her pose and the way she presents her body: her head is bowed down, her arms rest on her breasts, and her legs slightly touching each other on the knees complete her charming pose. The emphatic treatment of the vulva’s labia and the prominent, slightly protruding pubic area also emphasize the erotic posture of this statuette. The purpose of the carving was the subject of much speculation. Through the male dominated history writing it was said that this figure was associated with fertility and childbearing. From a patriarchal point of view, being both nude and woman, this figure fitted perfectly into the patriarchal construction of the history of art: the woman with this shape at a prehistoric age must have been associated with motherhood and fertility. But this should also remind us that being a woman is not all about motherhood or giving birth. This beautifully shaped female figure is a great example of the attractiveness and beauty of women in all forms and eras. The Venus of Willendorf is posing from the matriarchal ages with her persona, fully aware of her attractiveness and showing us the pleasure of being a woman.”

2014, Vienna.

the film is below.