Cunts and other conversations [at MONA] review:
**Excuse yourself if you’re offended by such a topic of human anatomy, but we’re here to talk about cunts.**
Having been raised by four women, I generally grew up knowing that there are many four letter words I wasn’t allowed to say. One of those is “cunt”. Traces of it date back to Egyptian, German, Dutch and Scandinavian languages, with Middle English documenting Gropecunt Lane (seriously) in the red light district of London in the 13th Century. The evolution of the word today has made it a little more popular and partially accepted, or not as profane as it once was. Don’t get me wrong, I think it still holds its own for shock value (even Germaine Greer thinks so), but along with the general acceptance of other nicknames of the female anatomy, words such as pussy, fanny, and snatch aren’t deemed to be anywhere near as offensive. Being a male, some of these words can be quite humorous, but lets not go there. Perhaps the progression of its popularity of being used over time is a sign of our society’s maturity. Maybe it’s just immaturity. Nothing comes close to this word in the male anatomy, but is “cunt” even insulting in an art form? Or is it actually doing us a service?
Art shrine to all forms of its bodily namesake, Cunts and other Conversations recently made its return to the infamous wall at MONA. Of all of the talking points for such a hyped up museum, this wall is one of the installations that it is probably the most talked about and remembered by visitors. Australian sculptor, Greg Taylor and his “friends” made the works in 2008-11, with the intention to create an engaging public discourse on the physical appearance of the vagina.
Approximately 40 metres of cunt-ish moulds, created from adult vaginas of all ages – models, Muslims, doctors, musicians, heterosexual, lesbian, virginal and motherly – the wall has it all. Bald cunts, hairy cunts, well groomed cunts, waxed cunts, trimmed cunts, big cunts, small cunts. Innies, outies, and from all times of the month there are 151 life sized porcelain sculptures, The assortment is amazing.
While listening on my O-device to a 15 minute argument between Greg Taylor and interviewer Elizabeth Mead about the history of cunts and their place, I did feel slightly awkward and perverted taking photos for the purpose of this story (no, really), but being around others looking at the same cunt, what goes through your head? Are you supposed to be disgusted? Are you supposed to be turned on? Are you entitled to feel this way? As a male, it’s hard not to admire the form of the opposite sex and get a really close look at what are realistically probably more vaginas than I think I’ll ever encounter in my lifetime (let’s be honest). There’s a great lesson to learned from Taylor; that there is no such thing as a normal cunt. No two are the same.
You can now bring the wonder of cunts into your home, as Taylor created “Cunt Soap”, available for a comparable price to a limited edition of The Notebook. Marketed as “the best smelling vaginas in Hobart” (let’s hope not) and “smelly vaginas, vulvas, cunt soap”, the soaps have names such as Bianca, Veronique, Shanti, Lizzy and Cath. You only have to take your pick of your new best friend to wipe all over your stinking body. Romantic? Maybe. – Just be sure not to rub someone up the wrong way.