Gina Pane was a french-italian body artist. She was a convinced feminist, but didn’t use her nudity to stand up for feminism, as some of her collegues (vene though there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just a different style).

She used her body to symbolize physical sacrifice and protest, and she did so with her performances (or actions, as she called them). She wanted to shock people by giving her body to the cause she believed in.

In this performance she was dressed in white with a bouquet of white roses. She started putting the spines of the roses in her arm’s skin, making blood come out from it with the help of a razor blade. Then her dress and the roses became blood red, and the contrast of the colors, their symbolism, is unique.

The starting situation with her all dressed in white, in a white room, holding a bouquet of white roses, can represent a balanced situation in which the artist has not felt pain yet. But then something happened: what was beutiful harmed her, she got hurt by what she was holding with love. And the only thing she was able to do was hurting herself more with a razor blade.  For her cutting is not a masochistic action: it is more showing people her pain. The artist herself said that the wound speaks about a freedom earned with courage, a freedom made by radical choices which seem to be fractures but at the same time allow pain to abandon the body.

All Gina Pane’s later works are based on the same aim: to shout her pain out loud as a woman, as a lesbian, as a human. She wanted to be a spiritual martyr, to carry all the pain that people couldn’t express.

– M.C.

Bibliography and further readings:

DADERKO Dean, Parallel Practices – Joan Jonas & Gina Pane, Contemporary Arts Museum, 2013

DUPLAIX Sophie, Gina Pane : Terre, artiste, ciel, Actes Sud Editions, 2012

CHAVANNE Blandine,‎ DELPEUX Sophie,‎ GATEAU Laurence,‎ GICQUEL Pierre, Gina Pane, Les Presse Du Reel, 2011


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s