The Denied

Veronica Berenice

In one of my trips across Europe, free at that time from the misery we are all suffering from during this 2020, I visited a small village above Nice – the south-east coast of France – which bears the name of Saint Paul de Vence. I ended up there because, then like today, I was chasing the maisons of intellectuals, philanthropists and the houses of friends of the arts; chance had it that the Maeght Foundation was there.

The view from the headquarters extends beyond the seaside pines, to that strip of sea on the French Riviera that I saw in flight only years later; I also remember how it appeared to me, from the porthole of the plane: the emotion of a small eureka on the truth of its name, because the Côte d’Azur is truly azure. Among the artists of that place, what ignites my imagination the most is to fantasise about those who, before me, took their steps in the art of collecting.


“Non ho mai avuto un orgasmo”, questa la dichiarazione priva di consapevolezza che non molto tempo fa propose a noi, figlie e nipoti, divenute ingenue ascoltatrici dei suoi frammenti esistenziali.


The Maeght couple collected much more than just works of art: the house itself was built by artists like Mirò, Braque and Giacometti.

These kinds of places have always been lidos where I recognise that particular sensation well described in Leopardi’s Infinito. Here I am sharing the whole story and immersed, for a moment at least, in the wind of time. Other places are the Tarot Garden in Tuscany or the Boros Foundation in Berlin, which share the same immense desire for collection, for private and almost intimate collections. Places formally ‘public’ but designed for a public that seeks and rarely runs into them.

     Likewise, each of us, on various levels, cram our fragile memories of our lives into similar chests and that funny, biting soul of my dear grandmother Ermida is not any different. What does make her different, however, is that she has lost control of her mind and own collection, and the result is a chaotic rummaging of artworks preserved in her memory. “I have never had an orgasm”, this is the statement without awareness that not long ago she presented to us, daughters and grandchildren, who have become naive listeners of her existential fragments.

My grandmother has lost touch with her own timeline and moves back and forth in her life as free from the constituent order that binds us all and that is rooted in the principle of non-contradiction. According to her, today can be yesterday and yesterday is good content for tomorrow. But who could say that what she lives is not real? All those who feel life know how important memory is, how important it is to preserve the heritage of every exceptional human being that trace the boundaries of that species called humanity.

     So if, on the one hand, I take part in this beautiful project, in the monthly collection of works of art [1]  that I meet; on the other hand, I have chosen a life that is a fulfilment of that of my family or, more extensively, of all the women who have not been able to live and preserve in their memory the pleasure that the only organ of the body responsible for pleasure alone can give: the clitoris. 

I have therefore chosen a free and biting sexual identity, like my grandmother used to face life, and when faced with the possibility of an orgasm I wish to make it become a moment of human connection that is elevated, in the union of body and mind, to a work of art. 

By doing so, at a certain point, the fatal tradition of denied orgasms will be interrupted and I can propose a virtual collection of experienced orgasms. 

And the fateful tradition of denied orgasms is interrupted.

[1] Art, writes Umberto Galimberti, is not limited to the object but has a further meaning compared to what our senses offer.