Have you ever been to the Palace of Versailles? It's really nice. There's a hall of mirrors, wonderfully expansive gardens and now, an enormous statue of a "queen's sex organs" in the palace grounds, put there by British sculptor Anish Kapoor. The humungous royal genitalia is proving a divisive addition to France's cultural landscape – some are hailing the work as a masterpiece, while Versailles' mayor François de Mazières has registered his disapproval, tweeting that the artist has "slipped up". According to the Paris daily Le Parisien, some members of the public believe that a vagina has no place in the palace.
Kapoor's work is called "Dirty Corner", part of his exhibition within the palace grounds that opens tomorrow and runs until November. Kapoor previously described the work as "the queen's vagina" in another interview and he's positioned the sculpture facing towards the palace. Is that deliberate? Is it aggressive?
Without being told that this was meant to be a vagina, I would have no idea. To me, it looks like a huge crustacean or a homemade tuba. I was relieved to find out that other people are confused too. A German tourist told Reuters: "It's confusing, a big vagina and a palace. It's one of the most famous places in Paris and I just wanted to see it and I saw this building, this statue, and I don't know what it is."
Kapoor isn't sorry for any controversy caused by "Dirty Corner", but doesn't recall describing the work in those words. "I don't remember saying it," he told reporters. I don't see why it's problematic. The point is to create a dialogue between these great gardens and the sculptures," he said.
Do you love it? Are you absolutely outraged? Kapoor's landmark exhibition opens tomorrow in Versailles if you want to see his giant vagina up close.