Anish Kapoor Refuses to Remove Vandals’ Anti-Semitic Slogans from Versailles Sculpture

The work has become a receptacle for dirty politics.

People look at the grafitti inscribed artwork by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor entitled Dirty Corner in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles in Versailles on September 11, 2015, a day after the artwork was emblazoned with grafitti for a third time. Courtesy of Versailles Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)
People look at the grafitti inscribed artwork by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor entitled Dirty Corner in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles in Versailles on September 11, 2015, a day after the artwork was emblazoned with grafitti for a third time. Courtesy of Versailles Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.

Following a spray-paint attack in June, Anish Kapoor’s sculptural installation Dirty Corner (2011) at Versailles was vandalized a second time over the weekend.

But instead of a splattering of paint, vandals sprayed anti-semitic slogans on the sculpture this time, prompting condemnation from French politicians.

AFP reported that the palace’s management discovered phrases such as “SS blood sacrifice,” and “Christ is King in Versailles,” written in French on the sculpture and the surrounding rocks on Sunday morning.

Anish Kapoor. Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images.

Anish Kapoor. Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images.

The 33-foot-high rusted steel sculpture was controversial since its installation due to its stylistic contrast to the palace’s lavish gardens and architecture, as well as Kapoor’s likening of the artwork to “the vagina of the queen,” describing it as “very sexual.”

President Francois Hollande labelled the latest ugly attack on the installation as “hateful and anti-Semitic,” while Prime Minister Manuel Valls pledged to severely punish the perpetrators.

Visiting the palace grounds to inspect the damage, French culture minister Fleur Pellerin called the vandalism “unacceptable” and said it was an “attack on freedom of creation.”

People look at the grafitti inscribed artwork by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor entitled "Dirty Corner" in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles in Versailles on September 11, 2015, a day after the artwork was emblazoned with grafitti for a third time. A controversial sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor on display in the gardens of France's Palace of Versailles has been vandalised for a third time, with graffiti saying "respect art" scrawled on it, the royal chateau said. Courtesy of Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.

People look at the grafitti inscribed artwork by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor entitled “Dirty Corner” in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles in Versailles on September 11, 2015, a day after the artwork was emblazoned with grafitti for a third time. A controversial sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor on display in the gardens of France’s Palace of Versailles has been vandalised for a third time, with graffiti saying “respect art” scrawled on it, the royal chateau said. Courtesy of Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.

In an interview with Le Figaro on Sunday, September 6, Kapoor condemned the damage and lamented that his artwork had “become a receptacle for the dirty politics of anti-semitic vandals, racists and right-wing royalists.”

He added that the sculpture would not be cleaned this time, and the writings would not be removed. “I will not allow this act of violence and intolerance to be erased. Dirty Corner will now be marked with hate and I will preserve these scars as a memory of this painful history,” Kapoor said.

Meanwhile, an unnamed source close to the ongoing investigation revealed that the suspects were “individuals with ultra-conservative leanings.” The source added that “we have some ideas about those who fit the profile.”


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