Artist Censored After Artwork With Daughter Branded as Pedophilia

Is France slipping back into the dark ages?

Diane Ducruet, Mother & Daughter II (2014) Courtesy the artist

Is France slipping back into the dark ages? After the butt plug furore that ended with the destruction of Paul McCarthy’s sculpture Place Vendôme (see “Vandalized Paul McCarthy Butt Plug Pulled from Paris Square”), photographer Diane Ducruet has been banned from showing images from her series Mother & Daughter (2014) in a group exhibition at Galerie Catherine Houard, part of Paris’ city-wide Mois de la Photo.

It’s not as if Ducruet had offended the masses. According to Rue89, only seven people sent letters of complaint addressed to the gallerist, the curator Françoise Paviot, the artist, and Jean-Louis Pinte, the Mois de la Photo delegate in charge of “At the heart of intimacy”, one of the themes for this year’s edition, for which the exhibition was programmed. Le Monde reported that Houard was away when the letters arrived on October 26. She then contacted the Mois de la Photo general curator and Maison Européenne de la Photographie director Jean-Luc Monterosso, who advised her to remove Ducruet’s work. And so she did, the day before the opening on October 31. Since then, Monterosso has denied any involvement with the decision.

One of the controversial photographs, used in the catalogue and on the invitation card, pictures the artist’s daughter putting her face in her mother’s mouth. Another shows the mother and daughter, naked, in tight embrace. She has described the image as “a chimeric figure, inspired by mythology,” “two bodies, at once fighting and melding into each other, but quietly, without hysteria.”

The photographer Marie Docher, also involved in the project, reported on her blog that the letters contained accusations of “heresy,” “incest,” and “pedophilia.” Houard, which had accepted to host the exhibition after the original venue planned for it fell through, stated that she didn’t want to run the risk of vandalism, particularly “in a show in which we are not responsible for the artworks.”


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