The National Art Museum of Ukraine is taking performance art to an interesting and strange new level with its “Sleeping Beauty” exhibit.
The concept of the exhibition, which has been running since August 22nd and will continue through September 9th, is the idea of artist, Taras Polataiko, who was inspired by the classic fairytale. Polataiko chose several young women to play the role of Sleeping Beauty, and for two hours at a time each woman is made to lie on a bed in the middle of a room and await a kiss from “Prince Charming”.
Museum visitors may view the girl and curious males are welcome to give Sleeping Beauty a kiss, but there’s a catch. If Sleeping Beauty opens her eyes after being kissed, both parties are under contract to marry one another. Before participating in the exhibit, the girl portraying Sleeping Beauty must sign a contract that basically states, “If I open my eyes while being kissed, I agree to marry the kisser” and the male suitors must also sign a similar contract agreeing to marry Sleeping Beauty. This legal obligation heightens the intensity of the exhibit and also provokes curiosity in others.
While I find this Ukrainian art exhibit to be unique and thoroughly interesting, I can’t help but feel a bit disgusted, too. The girls portraying Sleeping Beauty are basically volunteering to be kissed by a large number of complete strangers. That in itself is very off-putting. Also, the legal obligation to marry said complete stranger if her eyes so much as open. I think those that choose to participate are brave indeed, but that does not make it any less strange. I suppose the beauty and value of art is in the eye of the beholder.
What are your thoughts on this unique exhibit?