Exsqueeze me! Pole dancer taking part in nude Royal Academy of Art exhibition says embarrassed visitors have resorted to APOLOGISING when squeezing past naked performers

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  • Rowena Gander is among around 40 performers stripping off for the exhibition

A pole dancer taking part in a controversial new art exhibition has told how embarrassed visitors have been apologising when squeezing past performers’ naked bodies.

Rowena Gander is among around 40 performers made up of dancers, artists and actors who will be stripping off as part of Marina Abramovic’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

One performance sees a naked man and woman standing opposite each other blocking the way to visitors who have to navigate their way past them.

Liverpool-based Rowena described her job as ‘a one hour performance of mutual gazing with a partner as people pass through our naked bodies, as though it were a doorway to the art’.

She said: ‘Already, I have lots of interesting observations of audience interaction with the work.

Rowena Gander (pictured) is among around 40 performers made up of dancers, artists and actors who will be stripping off as part of Marina Abramovic's exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

Rowena Gander (pictured) is among around 40 performers made up of dancers, artists and actors who will be stripping off as part of Marina Abramovic’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

One performance sees a naked man and woman standing opposite each other blocking the way to visitors who have to navigate their way past them (pictured above Rowena Gander, left, with performance partner Kieram Corrin Mitchell, right, as a visitor is trying to squeeze past them)

One performance sees a naked man and woman standing opposite each other blocking the way to visitors who have to navigate their way past them (pictured above Rowena Gander, left, with performance partner Kieram Corrin Mitchell, right, as a visitor is trying to squeeze past them)

Liverpool-based Rowena, a passionate pole dancer (pictured above) described her job at the exhibition as 'a one hour performance of mutual gazing with a partner as people pass through our naked bodies, as though it were a doorway to the art'

Liverpool-based Rowena, a passionate pole dancer (pictured above) described her job at the exhibition as ‘a one hour performance of mutual gazing with a partner as people pass through our naked bodies, as though it were a doorway to the art’

‘The main one last night, at the launch, was people apologising’.

Responding to her post on Instagram one follower wrote: ‘So British… Haha.’

READ MORE: Visitors to Royal Academy of Arts will squeeze between nude performers at exhibition

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Rowena – who will perform along with dancer Kieram Corrin Mitchell – describes herself as a performer, choreographer and instructor who creates ‘experimental, thought provoking work through contemporary pole dance fusion’.

She has previously performed at Secret Circus, Miss Pole Dance UK 2017, the Las Vegas Pole Expo and the Blackpool Pole Dance Championships.

Rowena is taking part in the hour-long performance called Imponderabilia which will be staged up to six times a day as part of the exhibition.

She said of the experience: ‘I learn so much about myself and the other person when I perform this work.

‘After about 30 minutes I feel like I can see their soul.’

She is taking part in two other performances at the exhibition.

In one, a naked woman in a crucifix pose sits suspended on a wall-mounted bicycle saddle while in the second one the artist lies naked for around two hours beneath a skeleton.

Rowena said she had ‘undergone some intense endurance and durational performance training’ to prepare for the three months of ‘challenging and powerful’ performances.

Another performer stripping off for the same three works is Agata Flaminika, who describes herself as ‘a multidisciplinary artist based in Cornwall’.

She said: 'Already, I have lots of interesting observations of audience interaction with the work. The main one last night, at the launch, was people apologising'

She said: ‘Already, I have lots of interesting observations of audience interaction with the work. The main one last night, at the launch, was people apologising’

Rowena (pictured while pole dancing) describes herself as a performer, choreographer and instructor who creates 'experimental, thought provoking work through contemporary pole dance fusion'

Rowena (pictured while pole dancing) describes herself as a performer, choreographer and instructor who creates ‘experimental, thought provoking work through contemporary pole dance fusion’ 

Rowena is taking part in the hour-long performance called Imponderabilia (pictured above with two other performers as a woman is trying to squeeze through) which will be staged up to six times a day as part of the exhibition

Rowena is taking part in the hour-long performance called Imponderabilia (pictured above with two other performers as a woman is trying to squeeze through) which will be staged up to six times a day as part of the exhibition

Rowena said of the experience (pictured above with two different performers): 'I learn so much about myself and the other person when I perform this work. After about 30 minutes I feel like I can see their soul'

Rowena said of the experience (pictured above with two different performers): ‘I learn so much about myself and the other person when I perform this work. After about 30 minutes I feel like I can see their soul’

Another performer stripping off for the same three works is Agata Flaminika (pictured above during an art performance), who describes herself as 'a multidisciplinary artist based in Cornwall'

Another performer stripping off for the same three works is Agata Flaminika (pictured above during an art performance), who describes herself as ‘a multidisciplinary artist based in Cornwall’

She has previously posted photos on social media of herself covered in paint (pictured above) and doing outdoor naked performances

She has previously posted photos on social media of herself covered in paint (pictured above) and doing outdoor naked performances

Visitors at the Royal Academy of Arts' next exhibition opening this weekend, which includes a naked woman pinned in a crucifix pose, will have to squeeze past a nude man and woman in order to enter (like pictured above)

Visitors at the Royal Academy of Arts’ next exhibition opening this weekend, which includes a naked woman pinned in a crucifix pose, will have to squeeze past a nude man and woman in order to enter (like pictured above)

She has previously posted photos on social media of herself covered in paint and doing outdoor naked performances.

In one she complained how images of a performance documenting the female body and nature had been removed after falling foul of Instagram’s guidelines on nudity.

She wrote: ‘It’s really sad and frustrating how social media censor female bodies, especially in relation to vulgar, over-sexualised portrayal present in mass media.

‘There should be no shame in looking at the naked body.’

She said she was ‘absolutely honoured and excited’ about performing in the exhibition where she will perform alongside Kam Wan – a US based artist, model and actor.

The exhibition, which opens this weekend, is curated by controversial artist Marina Abramovi¿ (pictured) who previously invited visitors to slash her throat for another art show

The exhibition, which opens this weekend, is curated by controversial artist Marina Abramović (pictured) who previously invited visitors to slash her throat for another art show




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