The Alexandra Fly’s artistic figure, dressed up in the spectacular costume, made of rug vaginas, defends women’s rights. Travelling by planes and buses throughout Europe and the USA, she visits international art trades and museums of contemporary art.
This project by Alexandra Fly , an artist born in Poland , was created during her studies at the Art University in Berlin, the faculty of „Art in a Context” .
While looking for new methods to communicate artistic phenomenon in contemporary art, in order to present the project of Alexandra Fly’s figure, the artist brought out an action in the public area of a passenger plane. Since then, always in newly designed “costumes picturing genitals”, she appears not only on planes and buses, but first of all at the art trades, big exhibitions, biennale and museums. The clothing worn by Fly is densely trimmed by hanging around, small rug vaginas and penises, staffed with cotton wool and tulle.
What is the motive of Your artistic work?
Hans Bellmer told me: „My art is scandalous because for me this world is a scandal”.
One cannot miss the artistic figure of Alexandra Fly. Where have You presented Your project?
On planes, buses, at the art trades, museums of modern art. Unfortunately, after the year 2001, all propositions of artistic actions on planes have been arising the suspicion of assassination. The fear of terrorists has been so great that airlines all over the world forbade to proceed with any actions or performances on their machines. In spring 2007 I was planning to show my Alexandra Fly’s project during my travel to New York. To obtain the permission I had to describe my every single move in smallest details. Just before the take off I was informed that, thanks to the agreement of the pilot, I will be able to proceed with my action. That way the project Alexandra Fly was presented for the first time on the flight Berlin – New York. Later on I was very often flying by planes in the costume of Fly without asking for any permission. In this performance I took the advantage of passenger’s right to personal freedom. After all there aren’t any rules concerning compulsory clothes in which one should travel.
Can You tell me something about the site selection criterion in Your actions?
Right now I am showing Fly only in the countries of Western Europe. I travel to England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Italy. In the USA I was only in New York. I simply do it in places where the democracy is advanced and guarantees tolerance and respect for an individual. Sometimes the audience asks me why I do not present Fly in Iran, United Arab Emirates or Africa. But in countries where women hide faces behind burka and are allowed to stay in public places only in men’s company, I can be easily punished. Also in countries of Eastern Europe my costume can become a cause of unexpected misunderstandings.
Why do You think that the audience form Eastern Europe does not understand Your intentions?
It frightens me when I think of the fact that intolerant Catholics in Warsaw throw stones at the participants of Christopher Street Day parade or that this year in Moscow the curator Andrej Jerofejew received a judicial sentence for organising homosexual art exhibition, showing among others: Gilbert and George, Pierr and Giles.
And what are reactions of the tolerant audience to Fly?
In France viewers compared the „rug vaginas” on my costume to shapes of flowers. Generally, random audience do not say aloud that they see parts of genitals attached to my clothes. The most compliments I receive form the Chinese and Koreans. Usually, the viewers from Asia try to touch my costume with their fingers. When, after a finished action, I go back to my hotel by tram or underground, young southerners ( the Spanish, Turkish, people from Morocco) very often react to me with laughter, whistling, provocations. I noticed this kind of behaviour both in Berlin and London or Paris. In London, the elderly English usually asked me how much I earned on the project of Fly.
Do You believe that the audience truly knows what You are about?
Some of them, yes. Discussions with those who are really interested are part of my project. I explain all doubts occurring in questions. But also, during such conversations, I met ladies form Germany who claimed, that in German society there was not such phenomenon as violence against women
How is Your feminist discourse developing?
I would like to strengthen women’s independence. First of all, to arouse bigger trust in their own sexual organs. The clothes I am wearing during actions lift the veil of secrecy related to vagina. It demonstrates that this normal, beautiful part of women’s body can give happiness and joy. I wish vagina was no longer situated in the context of taboo. I would not want it to be the cause of humiliation and misfortune.
In Basel You talked about the phenomenon of progressing conservativeness in societies, which shadows the success of sexual revolution form the 60’s. Why do You think so?
Women growing up at the times of feminist dominance were very lucky. Without the help of a man they could manage their lives by themselves. The success of moral revolution in 1968 has highly influenced the changes of life’s customs for all the residents of the Western Europe. In other parts of the world there still exists the strict classification in men’s and women’s roles. Lots of emigrants, who have come to Europe in big numbers from places where women play second-rate parts, have never heard of the sexual revolution. Those people, although living in Europe, still cut out girls’ clitorises, take part in forced marriages and honourable murders. In my opinion the one who uses force against women, at the same time intimidates and destroys the source of energy on the Earth and, through this, is a threat to all humanity.
The interview with Alexandrą Fly was conducted by a German students’ newspaper Noir, translation form German and the text by Alexandra Hołownia.