Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Katarzyna Kozyra

Il Castrato

Il Castrato

Katarzyna Kozyra. Il Castrato, 2006.

The Gender Bender Gay Culture Festival co-produced the twenty-odd minute long performance titled "Il Castrato," which took the all but theatrical form of a one-act Baroque opera. In the opera's finale, the Maestro and Gloria Viagra plucked the Drag Queen (Kozyra) from the audience and castrated her. Stripped of dresses and wig, the Drag Queen 'recovered' her androgynous appearance with an artificial little body and genitals that granted her all the characteristics of a young boy. Following this scene, 'accomplished' by those who were to teach her 'femininity,' the artist sang Schubert's "Ave Maria" before riding off on a white steed upon whose back she assumed an unnaturally rigid pose. While in the previous projects of this series Kozyra sought to become, transform into, dress up as a woman/princess/star, in this episode she reverted to her boyish looks in order to undergo nearly literal castration. Thus, her gender once again proved to be a costume. The shooting of the film "Il Castrato" coincided with preparations for the performance in the altogether different space of the Teatro Settecentesco di Villa Mazzacorati, a Baroque theatre with illusionist scenery from the period.


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