The idiom “looking for a needle in a haystack” figuratively meant near-impossible. In the basement of the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art gallery in Paris, Sven Sachsalber, an Italian artist based in New York, literally did the impossible. He found a needle in a haystack. Sven painstakingly, over a span of two days, sifted through a bale of hay to look for a tiny needle that had been deliberately put in the giant haystack by Jean de Loisy, the director of the museum, as part of the arts performance.
The artist whose creations are often based on “physical exhaustion” found the needle in a previous performance in London in 2012, with a smaller haystack, in six hours. In the name of performance art Sven has in the past eaten a poisonous mushroom in the name of art, spent 24 hours with a cow in a room and cut down a large tree by hand he was precariously perched on and climbing over gravestones pretending to be a squirrel.
Art fans around the world watched every second of Sachsalber's search on a live video stream on YouTube.