The Bride (sculpture)
Artist: Joana Vasconcelos
Date of Action: August 2021
Location: Versailles, France
Subject: Explicit Sexuality
Confronting Bodies: The Public Establishment of Versailles
Description of Artwork: "The Bride" (in French, "La Fiancée; in Portuguese, "A Noiva") is a chandelier created by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos that is composed entirely of white tampons. Presented at the 2005 Venice Biennial, "The Bride" was to be Vasconcelos' central piece in her exhibition at the Château de Versailles. Vasconcelos envisioned putting "The Bride" at one end of the Hall of Mirrors and "Carmen," a black chandelier composed of earings, at the other end. According to Vasconcelos, the former was to represent the pure, the latter the whore. In her work, Vasconcelos frequently draws on feminist themes, reappropriating everyday objects to transform them into contemporary works of art.
The Incident: Since 2008, the Château de Versailles has invited artists to display their work at the palace. Vasconcelos has become the first female artist and one of the few contemporary artists to be showing at Versailles. However, the management of the palace objected to the showing of "The Bride" because of its sexual nature.
Results of Incident: Despite the rich sexual history of Versailles, Vasconcelos was forced to abandon her idea for "The Bride" and instead feature other works of art. Admittedly, the artist was frustrated by the censorship of her work: "They censored the tampons, which is interesting because the director is a woman, the tampons would have been my central piece, and I was censored completely. Tampons are not a threat anymore, and it's stupid that you can't use something as common as tampons in an artist's work."