Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning vandals sprayed yellow paint on Anish Kapoor’s sculpture “Dirty Corner” (2011–15), the centerpiece of his current exhibition at Versailles and a work the artist recently likened to “the vagina of the queen.”
“Damage to the work ‘Dirty Corner’ was discovered Wednesday morning,” a spokesperson for the Chateau de Versailles told the AFP. “It was lightly sprayed with paint. The work is being cleaned.” According to Le Figaro, staff at Versailles is still trying to identify the vandals from security camera footage, and the palace’s director Catherine Pégard plans to lodge a formal complaint. The artist, meanwhile, sees the attack on his work as symptomatic of a particularly regressive tendency in French society.
“If this act of vandalism says anything, it says more about a certain intolerance prevalent in France than about the art,” Kapoor told Le Figaro. “The problem seems political to me more than anything else; it comes from a very small minority for whom every creative act threatens a past that is considered sacred for completely non-artistic reasons. I hope that it is only a small group whose voices do not overlap with those of the majority. I find this phenomenon saddening.”
“Dirty Corner,” whose large, funnel-like opening is made of CorTen steel plates, is the biggest of the six works on view in Kapoor Versailles. The British-Indian artist’s comment in an interview last month with the Journal du Dimanche likening the artwork to “the vagina of the queen taking power” caused outrage in far-right circles in France.
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