Sleeping Beauty

Photograph: National Art Museum of Ukraine

It’s not terribly related to anything, but this article was too intriguing not to re-post.

The National Art Museum of Ukraine recently hosted an exhibit entitled “Sleeping Beauty” by Taras Polataiko in which women dressed in white were recruited to sleep in the gallery for two hours at a time, waiting for visitors to ‘awake’ them with a kiss. The sleeping woman was allowed to choose when she wished to open her eyes and ‘awake.’ However, a legally-binding contract signed by both the women and would-be princes stipulated that should the Sleeping Beauty decide to open her eyes, she and the kisser must be married. More than a playful take on fairy-tale fatalism, Polataiko sees the show as a comment on Ukrainian society today.

“The idea behind the project is patience,” Polataiko told Gazeta Po-Ukraiinski. “Our people can be patient for a long time. While Beauty is sleeping, the entire kingdom is also sleeping. If the kingdom is to be woken, the Beauty must be woken.”

Read more on this perspective in Natalia Antonova’s Guardian editorial.

For others the exhibit explored the idea of intuition, imagination, and sensory interpretation. “The experience was really eminent; I never tried anything like that before,” said Lisa Rai, one of the beauties. “It really felt like what they say about blind people, who can hear, smell, and feel more acutely than those who can also see. I have to confess that it was quite hard to trust the feelings and follow the impulse.”

Rai was the first beauty to awake, to the kiss of a princess nonetheless. (And that’s how I’ll find the exhibit’s relevancy for today–Happy National Coming Out Day!)

A visitor kisses a ‘sleeping beauty’ during an art project created by Canadian-Ukrainian artist Taras Polataiko in the National Art Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Photograph by Efrem Lukatsky, The Associated Press

 

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