Aptly named “Sleeping Beauty“, a controversial art exhibit at the National Art Museum of Ukraine has real-life sleeping beauties waiting to be “woken up” by true love’s kiss, just like in the famous fairytale by Charles Perrault. Only these fair maidens are bound by contact to marry their suitors if they open their eyes while being kissed.
Earlier this month, a group of young women were chosen to be part of an an unusual art installation designed by Canadian-Ukrainian artist Taras Polataiko. Each one has agreed to lay down on a pedestal-style bed for three days waiting to be woken up by true love’s kiss. Unlike the sleeping beauty in Perrault’s story, these girls are not under any curse, nor have they been poisoned, they just volunteered to be part of a really unique art project and hopefully find the love of their lives. Because the contract they agreed to sign clearly states that if any of them open their eyes while being kissed by any of the male visitors, they are obliged to marry them. To make things interesting, each of the visitors is also required to sign a contract that obligates them to marry the sleeping beauty if she opens her eyes during the kiss. Pretty serious stuff…
“The tension of the performance is in the seductiveness and fear of the ultimate moment,” describes the exhibit’s press release. “The viewer will have to think twice before kissing the Beauty. The Beauty will have to decide if the ultimate moment has come or not. The show will end the moment the Beauty opens her eyes.” Taras Polataiko, who came up with the idea of the exhibit, said he hoped it would produce a real love connection between the sleeping beauties and the male visitors. At the same time, he acknowledges the seriousness of the whole thing. ”I hope they(suitors) come, so it will be more interesting for the beauties. But I really don’t know. It’s a really serious thing, it’s marriage,” the artist said. According to The Telegraph, requirements for both the girls and their suitors are the same: they have to be 0ver 18 years old, they must not be married, and they should have a serious and sincere wish to get married.
The Sleeping Beauty fairytale exhibit was close to having a very unhappy ending when Taras Polataiko was called to the museum director’s office and told by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture that he would be shut down. The artist quickly recounted the event on Facebook and went as far as to compare the situation to “a return to totalitarianism.” Luckily, after meetings between the ministry and the museum everything was sorted out and the beauties are now free to find their beloved. The unusual art exhibition started on August 22 and will run until September 9, so if you want to seal your fate with a kiss, jump on a plane and try your luck.