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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Dead pig 'dance' faces criticism
A controversial art performance in Cornwall involving a dead pig has been criticised by an animal rights group.

In the Wrong Placeness is billed as a "slow, crushing dance with a pig", which the Newlyn Art Gallery director said could lead to "informed debate".

The show in Penzance on Friday saw a woman cradling and possibly cutting into the animal with a knife.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said: "Cruelty is not entertainment."

'Shock artists'

Artist Kira O'Reilly spent four hours cradling the dead pig. Visitors were only allowed into the theatre to watch it one at a time, for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Ms O'Reilly said the pig served as her "stand-in, double, twin, doll, imaginary self".

This seems to be a desperate cry for help that merits visits from mental health counsellors, not voyeurs

"This work emerges from research with skin biopsies from newly-dead pigs, cultivating the skin cells in vitro, in preparation to work from a biopsy of my own body's skin."

She said she was well aware of the controversy the show would create.

The gallery's director, James Green, defended the decision to show the exhibition and said they were giving people the opportunity to see many forms of art.

"Clearly the piece is controversial in many respects. In part, it is intentionally so. But it has been shown before and has not caused any problems.

"It is always good to debate, but it is better to have an informed debate based on seeing the work rather than discussing what it might consist of."

A spokesman for Peta said: "This seems to be a desperate cry for help that merits visits from mental health counsellors, not voyeurs.

"Shock artists without other creative ideas, resort to debasing, reducing and killing animals as if they were props, knowing it will spark outrage and should not be rewarded for their efforts."

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