Child Pornography Charges Against Artist Dismissed

Paul Yore's work was "intentionally confrontational" ruled the magistrate.

Installation view of Everything Is Fucked.
Photo: John Brash, courtesy Paul Yore.

Charges against the artist Paul Yore, accused of using child pornography in an art installation, have been dismissed, ABC reports. The piece, titled Everything is Fucked, was shown last year at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts in St Kilda, Melbourne (“Artist Accused of Creating Child Pornography”.)

Melbourne Magistrate Amanda Chambers ruled that while the images used in the piece did depict underage people, they did not, with the exception of one image, constitute child pornography. “The images have been created in a clearly artificial way, by pasting the faces of boys over adult bodies,” she said.

Everything is Fucked was shown as part of “Like Mike Now What??,” a group exhibition that paid homage to Mike Brown, the only Australian artist ever convicted for obscenity (in 1966). Yore’s installation—which combined collages, sex toys, and found objects—included pictures of children’s heads pasted onto naked adult male bodies, as well as numerous photographs of pop star Justin Bieber.

Soon after the exhibition opened in May 2013, Melbourne detectives raided the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts and removed a number of images from Yore’s installation with a Stanley knife, the Guardian reported. The exhibition was subsequently closed and Yore charged with producing and possessing child pornography. He pleaded not guilty.

A Deliberately Confrontational Piece

At the time, Yore explained that his piece was deliberately confrontational, with parts of the installation “teetering on the edge,” but that his aim had been to sarcastically point out the ideas of excess and spectacle in our society. “I wanted to talk about the phallocentric nature of our culture, especially in relation to the natural world, the way our civilization has this very destructive relationship with the natural world,” said the 26 year-old artist.

In August, 2014, after multiple hearings, Magistrate Chambers reserved her judgment, telling the court the decision about whether the exhibition at the Linden Centre was art or child pornography was “difficult,” ABC reported.

But Chambers finally made up her mind. “Clearly Paul Yore’s work is confrontational, and intentionally so,” she  said.

According to a Guardian report, Australia is developing a reputation for censoring radical, challenging art (“Can Art Out-Do Porn?”), so this ruling will certainly be reassuring for the country’s artistic community.

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