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Peeing policewoman artwork pisses off Dresden

The Local · 14 Jan 2011, 08:00

Published: 14 Jan 2011 08:00 GMT+01:00

The work entitled "Petra" by 27-year-old sculptor Marcel Walldorf is made of silicone and metal and has pitted public officials against art world aficionados in the debate over what is acceptable in the name of high culture.

It depicts a young female police officer in full riot gear crouching to pee, with exposed buttocks and a small gelatin "puddle" affixed to the floor of the gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts in the capital of Saxony.

The work entitled "Petra" was completed one year ago and has captured a €1,000 ($1,328) prize by the prestigious Leinemann Foundation for fine arts.

"It shows very well the difference between the public sphere and the private sphere," the jury said.

But Saxon Interior Minister Markus Ulbig, who is responsible for the state's security services, told the German press he was "shocked" by the sculpture, which he branded "an insult to police officers."

The GdP police union also blasted the piece, saying it "breached the limits of artistic freedom."

"There have of course been letters of protest, particularly addressed to the artist," a spokeswoman for the Academy of Fine Arts, Andrea Weippert, told news agency AFP.

But she insisted that the public response had been "overwhelmingly positive."

"People who visit the show are not offended," she said.

Story continues below…

She said she was surprised by the attention given to the display of "Petra" in Dresden as it had already been featured in smaller shows in the cities of Berlin and Leipzig.

"The artist is exploring a taboo zone. 'Petra' is not a provocation," she said. "It is an observation of society."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:05 January 14, 2011 by teutonic-knight
This is a disgrace. This should not be considered art. This is a degenerate and a humilating work. Why is the value of women and police brought down. What is the point of this kind of work. Artists should create an art that shows the civilization, beauty, health and strength of society. Art should be beautiful and proud to help people become inspired and work for the good of their community. This work is garbage and just like poison, it can damage our culture. Mothers and police officers are the main hopes of the country. We must protect their value with our hearts.
09:47 January 14, 2011 by Landmine
This artist is a fool. This is not art. Of all the things that she could have done, she chooses this. What an unimaginative artist....
10:13 January 14, 2011 by Carlos Hausner
It could have been a lot worse you know!
10:22 January 14, 2011 by Portnoy
Nah it's brilliant -- as the curator said, it's an excellent illustration of the difference between public and private space. It has special prescience now with the number of protests in Germany and throughout Europe. Exceptional, really.
10:44 January 14, 2011 by bugger
This should be cast in bronze and made into a fountain, obviously.
11:20 January 14, 2011 by freechoice

This is what I saw on the S-Bahn station while going to work today!!
11:34 January 14, 2011 by storymann
It is controversial,,and I don't like it...maybe in some circles it is considered a form of art,,,but I think it's obscene.
11:49 January 14, 2011 by Talonx
'Entertete Kunst' eh folks, not much for the history bookas are you storyman, teutonic-knight, and landmine?

Portnoy, you need to find another means of syndication. The reason people like this come to this web site is because the Local posts news concerning prostitutes breast enlargements.

The Local is a joke, it didn't start out that way, but it's a joke now.

Seriously, I respect your columns Portnoy, please find a better publication, there are others.
12:06 January 14, 2011 by storymann
Talonx,,I am sorry but the History bookas falls a little short on me...how ever entertete kunst,,ya if a person dose not think urinating on the street or is eating a sh--t sandwich is art, then they have no appreciation of it....it is their ignorance not the art!! stimmt?
12:08 January 14, 2011 by majura
Art is art. Intrinsically you can't truly define it.

I see a point to this piece and it's not 'damaging our culture'. If you have a different opinion that's fine- but making claims about how it should not be exhibited is more 'damaging' to our society (think along the lines of freedom of expression, opinion and human rights).
14:08 January 14, 2011 by The-ex-pat
12:08 January 14, 2011 by majura

Art is art. Intrinsically you can't truly define it.

A valid point, but the problem is separating pretentious cr*p that has been designed to elicit the reaction that this has got from the the sort of art that you would want in your house or in a public place for ALL ages to view and not shock for the sake of it. In the UK we have a word for this sort of thing.......Turner. Try entering for a Turner prize, it is not difficult at all. May I suggest soiling yourself and then putting your underwear on canvas, throw some blood over it and you are guaranteed a winner!

I don't know who said it, but just because you are sensitive and know one understands you, does not make you an artist!!!
14:39 January 14, 2011 by William Thirteen
here in Berlin no one even noticed - but out there in the Eastern provinces it's got them all riled up!

'Mothers and police officers are the main hopes of the country' - you mean the mothers that are burying their infants in the garage or tossing them out windows and the police officers that are being bought off by the HA? Someone needs to get out of the house more often..
15:11 January 14, 2011 by storymann
art is art ,beauty is in the eye of the beholder ....defined : Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions..I would have to admit this is art,,according to that definition....is it in good taste ,that is debatable .
16:35 January 14, 2011 by coyote3000
I fail to see what the big deal is. If you don't like it, you don't have to look at it, right?

Not surprised that there was an uproar in Dresden though and not in Berlin or Leipzig. Dresden is the city that wants to put a freeway and bridge through a Unesco world heritage site afterall.
18:30 January 14, 2011 by iche
@teutonic-knigh:t you need a good enema :)

And @William Thirteen: very good point
18:36 January 14, 2011 by aldus
Ah, Tonio: "Sei Kunstler oder Bürger..."

Delighted that it didn't raise a ruffle in Berlin...I miss Berlin.

(Extra points if you know the quote.)
18:50 January 14, 2011 by scoobydube
A woman is 'pleasuring' herself (out in the 'open) on a train and now this. What has happened to Germany since I was there in the early 1980's. All we had to worry about were the "RED ARMY FACTION", blowing up U.S. Military Installations or buildings on them. Now THAT was fun. But not this.
19:50 January 14, 2011 by SockRayBlue
So what? A dog takes a leak, a man pees on a tree, so now women don't urinate? Perhaps we can all ignore our bodily functions, Ya? Since women have become part of the workplace and quite equal to men are we to ignore female cops having to GO?
20:55 January 14, 2011 by DinhoPilot

"This should be cast in bronze and made into a fountain, obviously."

Exactly!!! I don't see what's all the fuss about. Sincerely I saw more weirdish or obscene bronze fountains statues and no one was complaining about it.
00:08 January 15, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, I'm a professional artist. And it just so happens that I debated the defintion of art aerlier today.

Picasso once said "We all know that art is not the truth, it's a lie that helps us to realize the truth." As talented as he was, Picasso was unfortuantely short on morality.

This fact is indicative in his paintings and the life he lived.

Art is defined as "An honest attempt to capture the truth."

Therefore, if it isn't based upon morality, then it's simply an expression of a person's immorality.
07:59 January 15, 2011 by hOU
Pretty lame really ...

I'd have her being sodomized by a bull, a Greek bull. And maybe she could be licking the genital fuzz of a large, goggle-eyed American eagle.

I mean c'mon, let's make f@cking art yeah?
14:00 January 15, 2011 by tallady
@ Logic Guy An honest attempt to capture the truth. I think you are mixing up art and photography ,,does not make much sense to me ,,but I am not a professional Artist like yourself,,and you probably are speaking in some form of art jargon,that most of us are not privy to.
18:03 January 15, 2011 by wenddiver
I can't believe we tax people, so we can have spaces to display such pieces. It is harly original, since such work can be scene on the walls of third world truck stops world wide. Apparently all you need to be able to appreciate it is a limited IQ, education, morals, and talent. It's sad people of such limited talent are all that appeals to the currators. How hard is it to dress a dummy and drip silicone???

I am sure it will be popular with teen age boys and the immature.
21:09 January 15, 2011 by Joshontour
Rivals Michelangelo's David.
20:27 January 18, 2011 by Prufrock2010
If this is all they have to worry about in Dresden, I'd say they must be doing just fine. Who effing cares?

@ tallady -- You should know by now that trying to make sense of anything that emanates from Logic Guy is in itself a symptom of insanity. He may be mind-numbingly stupid, but he is a constant source of amusement. I'm waiting breathlessly for his thesis on the "morality of art."
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