Last year Belgian model Marisa Papen, 26, got into a spot of bother when she was arrested for posing nude in Egypt.
She’s now upset the authorities in Israel by posing naked near the Western Wall in Jerusalem for an exhibition at a gallery in Knokke, a Belgian beach resort.
The photo of Papen, 26, soaking up sunshine on the terrace of a private residence overlooking the Western Wall plaza is titled “Road to Liberation”.
Western Wall rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch, inset, said:
This is an unfortunate, awkward and serious incident that unfortunately offends those who worship at this sacred location.
While the photo shows the women’s section of the Western Wall, often referred to as the holiest site in Judaism, it does not include any part of the Al-Aqsa mosque, which towers over the Western Wall plaza and would have been prominently visible from the photographer’s point of view.
Said Michael Freilich, editor in chief of the Joods Actueel Jewish paper.
But the photographer, Mathias Lambrecht said:
For all the picture’s alleged provocative nature, I think it was edited out. I guess they don’t want too much controversy.
The picture is uncropped. The mosque was not in the frame. Nothing to edit out.
Another picture, featuring in the invitation to the opening of the exhibition, shows a nude Papen climbing a flagpole from which an Israeli flag waves.
On her blog, Papen posts the Western Wall and flagpole photos as well as three other nude shots in Israel taken during a three-day trip last month.
In a post, titled “Wall of Shame,” she wrote:
After my escapades in Egypt, I knew that I wanted to push the bounderies [sic] of regilion [sic] and politics even further. Breaking down the walls that have been build to keep all our wandering souls on this planet somehow under control. With other words, showing my personal religion in a world where freedom is becoming a very luxurious thing.
Papen was detained in Egypt last year for 24 hours for posing nude at the Karnak Temple Complex.
Freilich said Belgian Jews were indifferent to the incident.
Art and nudity have been intertwined for centuries, there’s nothing new here. The question is whether art remains art when it involves cash and a conscious attempt to provoke and shock.
• The top photo of Papen appears along with others on the Enki Eyewear site.