On 8 March 2008, the Italian performance artist Pippa Bacca undertook an unusual and symbolic journey: her aim was to promote the cause of peace by hitchhiking from Milan to Jerusalem, wearing a customized white wedding dress, and documenting the experience by video. In telling the young woman’s story, which overwhelms her and inexorably draws her in, Nathalie Léger recounts the different stages of her research and strikes upon something fundamental within Bacca’s performance: the desire to remedy the unfathomable nature of violence and war. Through this intense examination of Bacca’s final work and of the often polarised public reaction to the role of women in art, Léger also compellingly addresses her own conflicted relationship with her elderly mother. As she surveys the terrain of performance art and continues her examination of portrayals of the female condition, as in her earlier books, Léger explores the existential mystery and harsh truths expressed in Bacca’s work, and that of other performance artists. The White Dress
closes what is now regarded as a trilogy that begins with Exposition
and is followed by Suite for Barbara Loden.