project image
Maria Molteni

first performed on April 9, 2016
The Distillery Gallery, Boston, MA
performed once in 2016


Boston, MA / Atlanta, GA


A life-sized piñata hung in the center of a white-wall gallery. The piñata was approximately five feet 6 inches. He wore a garment made of shredded gray crepe paper and had a full head of black hair. Lacking facial features, his face was a blank stretch of skin-toned papier-mâché. He hung between four industrial light fixtures, which bathed the room in an eerie green glow. The piñata was a double of me, my doppelgänger: a narcissistic object I made for the purposes of this performance.

I began the performance by recording a video of my mouth, nose, and eyes with my iPhone. Afterward, I played the video against the piñata’s face, mapping my facial features onto his blank visage. Through a series of actions, I then courted the piñata by altering my clothes to look like his, kissing him with a mouth full of cabernet sauvignon, stapling artificial flowers onto his body with a staple gun, and giving him a back massage.

After the courtship, I removed his body from the gallery and took him into an adjacent stairwell. From the third-floor landing I dropped his body into the stairwell. His body split open as he made impact with the ground below. I collected his body parts and carried the pieces back into the gallery. Reaching into his abdominal cavity, I removed his intestines, which were filled with red velvet cake. And I consumed him.

“I heard voices… God have mercy…” are the last words uttered in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Referencing this film and the myth of Pygmalion, I explored the idea of the doppelgänger to investigate how the themes of narcissism, the uncanny, and the corporeal body relate to homosexual relationships. This piece was performed as part of a group exhibition organized by the Boston LGBTQIA Artist Alliance. Titled Post-Gay?, the exhibition was a response to the growing mainstream acceptance of the LGBTQIA community, evident in the passing of gay marriage legislation and Caitlyn Jenner’s controversial Vanity Fair cover. The exhibition included artists who are currently redefining queer identities and desires in the aftermath of these pivotal events.