words Arabella Hull
Recently, a 12 year old Taiwanese boy punched a hole in the painting ‘Flowers’ by Baroque artist Paolo Porpora, which was worth $1.5 million.
The entire ordeal was caught on CCTV, so its clumsiness cannot be denied; losing his balance and trying not to spill his drink, the boy unintentionally dead-headed one of the 350-year-old roses with the efficiency of a professional iconoclastic gardener.
He proceeded to stand before it for about a minute, as petrified as the still life he had just so savagely impaired. Gifted with 12-year-old awkwardness, the museum let the boy walk away both physically and financially unscathed. However, he learned that the roses are probably redder when you haven’t punched through a painting of them on a ‘fun day out’ with your family, who already deeply misunderstand your pre-adolescent angst.
Placing myself into the mind of a 12-year-old boy in an art gallery, I have reconstructed the probable inner monologue of this unfortunate youngster as his life crumbles before him:
A Sunday morning dawns and Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park sleepily opens the doors of one of its most popular current exhibitions; ‘The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius’.
“Ugh. I wish I didn’t have to go to this fancy museum with my family. Exhibitions like these are totally just feeding the elitist pretense of, like, the bourgeoise establishment and stuff. Oh, what’s that? Jessie from my Spanish class liked my Instagram! I need time to think about what this means. Like, what it actually means. Qué significa eso, Jessie?”
The boy and his family wander throughout the gallery.
“Yep. Just as I expected. Conventional curation. Tasteful displays. Thoughtful layout of paintings; I see they’ve chosen thematic rooms over chronology. OMG! Jessie liked my throwback Thursday?! She is INTO ME! Hang on, she might just be being hacked or something. Or maybe she’s liking all my pictures as some kind of sick joke, like cyber-taunting me because my arm muscles are so undeveloped. She definitely fancies Jake from Maths, his arm muscles are like Goliath or something. Ugh. I am SO David. Wait, my drink, my balance..”
Boy falls into painting.
“Oh my God oh my God oh my God. Is this real life? Did I just punch that foliage? Was that me? Yep, that was definitely me. So I can’t win an arm wrestle when I’m surrounded by everyone I’ve ever wanted to impress at school, but I can irreversibly ruin a 350-year-old masterpiece with the soft push of a feeble limb? My life sucks. I also spilt my milk. But I shall not cry. I shall not cry over this literal spilt milk.”
The gallery decide not to fine the boy or his family.
“Ok phew. They’re not going to charge me. But they filmed it?! I hope it never reaches the internet. If it does, I’ll have to milk it. Maybe I’ll even get a few more Instagram followers… it could make me look kinda… badass? Yeah! Watch out, Jake, I can punch paintings… and more! Man, it’s hard being a tortured rebel. Maybe that’s why they call it painting.”