Marguerite Humeau’s “Birth Canal” is a show that engages the viewer on multiple levels. Ten figures, cast out of bronze or carved in stone are positioned on top of multiple grey, stone-colored platforms at the end of one of the New Musuem’s darkened South galleries. Ambiguous in form, the sculptures resemble both female figures and animal brains. Spotlights highlight the differently sized casts and elongate their shadows, making the whole scenery resemble a stage. The voluptuous sculptures are the French artist’s reflection upon some of the earliest forms of sculpture in human existence – the Paleolithic Venus figurines. The mystery surrounding both the purpose of these objects as well as the sculptors who created these figures fascinates Humeau. She drew inspiration to pair the figurines and animal brains from anthropologist Bethe Hagens, who theorized that ancient shamans may have eaten animal brains. The healers believed that by doing so they would acquire the respective animal’s capabilities - such as flying. This allusion to an ancient ritual is perceptible inside the cave-like, dark gallery space. A soundtrack rising from heavy breathing to raw, indecipherable chanting and a deep bass sound accompanies the installation. The whole setting is covered by a sweet, mineral-like scent that is supposed to evoke an association with the odor of bodily liquids during childbirth. Visiting the show is both a fascinating and disturbing experience. The diverse shapes and forms of the sculptures ask for a closer look, whereas the soundtrack and the overwhelming atmosphere prevent the visitors from lingering.