French President Emmanuel Macron raised eyebrows this week after condemning the vandalism of a vile art piece accused of promoting pedophilia.
“On this May 8, when we celebrate the victory of freedom, I condemn the act of vandalism committed yesterday at the Palais de Tokyo,” Macron tweeted Monday. “To attack a work is to attack our values. In France, art is always free and respect for cultural creation is guaranteed.”
“It’s a direct attack on freedom of expression, which is quite serious,” added French Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak.
On Sunday, an elderly vandal spray-painted artist Miriam Cahn’s painting fuck abstraction! inside the Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris.
“The perpetrator of the spray paint attack, described as elderly according to a source close to the case, was ‘unhappy with the sexual portrayal of a child and an adult presented in the painting’ but was not affiliated with an activist group,” reported the Times of Israel.
The piece features what appears to be a child in bondage performing fellatio on a male figure.
En ce 8 mai, où nous célébrons la victoire de la liberté, j'avoue avoir un petit faible pour la nouvelle version de "Fuck Abstraction" qui incarne parfaitement la liberté de dire non à la pédocriminalité. pic.twitter.com/SqDuUWKfip
— Karl Zero Absolu (@karlitozero) May 8, 2023
The piece, which has been on display since February, was condemned in March by the group Association Juristes de l’Enfance (Lawyers for Children), who argued the painting should be taken down for “representing fellatio imposed by a naked man erect on a tied up child.”
Cahn meanwhile maintained her painting depicts war crimes in Ukraine.
“This painting deals with the way in which sexuality is used as a weapon of war, as a crime against humanity,” she claimed.
Lawyers for Children sued to have the painting removed “on the grounds that French law forbids the exhibition of pornographic representations of minors,” according to ArtNet.com, however, a judge dismissed the lawsuit in late March.
The decision was later upheld by the French Supreme Court in April, noting measures had been taken to deter minors from accessing the painting, and that panels leading to the painting helped clarify Cahn’s intended meaning, which she claimed was to denounce rapes in Ukraine.
Cultural Minister Malak celebrated the fact the painting effectively depicting child rape would now legally be allowed to continue to hang in the museum.
“In agreement with the artist, the Palais de Tokyo will continue to present the painting and the exposition,” Malak said, “with traces of the damage until the end of the season, May 14.”
The Times of Israel notes Cahn has previously used her work for activism:
“Cahn has also carried out her own protest in the art world. In 2021, she decided to pull her paintings from one of Switzerland’s largest art museums over its decision to permanently house a controversial Nazi-era collection.”
While President Macron was quick to condemn vandalism of the disgusting art piece, he apparently has not issued similar statements in regards to Extinction Rebellion climate change activists vandalizing historical art in other French museums like the Louvre or the Museum of Modern Art.