Several weeks ago, Swiss performance artist Milo Moiré arrived at Art Basel in Switzerland completely naked, except for her shoes, a pair of glasses and the words “pants,” “bra” and “jacket” written on her body. The result: She wasn’t allowed into the event (though organizers say it was because her performance was “unauthorized,” not because she wasn’t wearing any clothes).
What seemed like a simple prank was actually her latest work of art, an attempt to lull people out of their daily routines. Moiré, 31, is no stranger to shocking her audience. In a controversial performance in April, for instance, she plopped paint-filled eggs out of her vagina and onto a canvas. One of her goals: to show how her femininity inspires her work.
I spoke with with Moiré last week about art, nudity and shock value.
Why do you think you were turned away from Art Basel?
The rigid corset of numbers and lust for power makes art short of breath. The art market needs the peculiarity of art—namely to be playful and passionately authentic. Without this quality, even the prestigious Art Basel only sells illusions.
What was the point of your most recent performance?
The performance, called “The Script System,” is inspired by the “scripts” theory of cognitive psychology. Each of us knows these scripts that we use every day. In the morning, on the way to work, we act almost automatically, sometimes without awareness of our environment. I wanted to break through this stereotypical everyday blindness.
The Guardian called your previous performance “absurd, gratuitous, trite and desperate?” Was the critic just being a jerk?
Critics have written such reviews about many important artists before me. I, myself, would not write a yard-long article if the art were inconsequential.
What makes your art unique?
My art is about humanity, about life, about the body naked or dressed in exchange with the psyche. What happens during my performance is real and shows how life is a dynamic, uncontrollable process.