This piece is a performative sculpture I devised in 2009, attempts to address the phenomenon of sexuality as a performance, and to show, as artist Karen Finley puts it, “how women are both defined by their sexuality and punished for it.”

The performer in the sculpture is tied using Japanese shibari bondage knots by another woman. On the pyre, styled from 350 to 400 candles to create the effect of a bonfire, she stands as a silent object. Punters call, ask questions, comment loudly about her, but she can’t answer – her trial has passed, society has made its judgement. I devised the piece to be durational – rather than, say, staging it as a photograph – to emphasise that fact that the spectacle of our punished sexuality and the blame that comes from the gaze we receive (she did it to herself, one could say) within the paradigm of “post-feminism” is something which does not just occur but which must be endured.

Photos © Neil Guy