A controversial work by Miriam Cahn was vandalized at the Palais de Tokyo

It had been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo since mid-February

A controversial work by Miriam Cahn was vandalized at the Palais de Tokyo

It had been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo since mid-February. A controversial painting by Swiss artist Miriam Cahn was sprayed with paint by an individual who acted alone on Sunday, May 7, announced the museum, which intends to file a complaint.

Titled Fuck abstraction!, the work depicts a person with their hands tied being forced into oral sex by a faceless, powerful man. For his detractors, the victim is a child, which the artist denies, invoking the representation of rape as a weapon of war and a crime against humanity.

The associations Lawyers for Childhood, Childhood in Sharing, Facing Incest and Innocence in Danger, considering child pornography, demanded its removal but were dismissed in the spring by the Paris Administrative Court and then by the Council of State.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, a man "voluntarily defaced" this work "by spraying purple paint" on it, despite a "mediation and security device", the museum told Agence France-Presse (AFP) , confirming information from Franceinfo.

The man, an "elderly person" according to a source familiar with the matter, was "unhappy with the sexual staging of a child and an adult depicted according to him in this painting", but he is not part of an activist group. He "was immediately apprehended by security agents (...) and taken away by the police", adds the contemporary art center which "will file a complaint for damage to property and obstruction of freedom of expression".

The painting will continue to be exposed

Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak recalled that justice had "confirmed that this painting, as put in context, could be presented to the public", in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse after visiting place. "The National Rally has instrumentalized this painting to stir up controversy and attack the freedom of creation of artists," said the minister who had been questioned on the subject in March by RN deputy Caroline Parmentier, adding:

“Without this instrumentalization by the RN, we certainly would not have come to this. »

"We regret the extreme consequences of this controversy", for his part declared Guillaume Désanges, president of the Palais de Tokyo, anxious to "support art (...) with enthusiasm, awareness and responsibility towards all audiences". "In agreement with the artist, the Palais de Tokyo will continue to present the painting and the exhibition" which attracted 80,000 visitors, "with traces of degradation until the scheduled end of the season, May 14" , the statement said.

Contacted by AFP, the association Jurists for Children indicated that they had discovered this degradation. "Children's lawyers and other associations [have] acted as we always do, by taking legal action, writing to those responsible and informing the public," she said.