EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – British artist reacts to hot on the decision of the Versailles court to force him to hide Semitic tags on his sculpture “Dirty Corner,” the heart of a controversy since installation in June.
The Versailles Administrative Court on Saturday ordered the Palace of Versailles to end “without delay” the public display of anti-Semitic tags placed on “Dirty Corner,” the monumental sculpture by Anish Kapoor installed since early June on the Green Carpet at the heart of the royal park designed by Le Nôtre. The judge, seized Friday by the association Lawyers Without Borders and Councilman (DVD) Versailles Fabien Bouglé, said that enrollment infringed public order and “in particular the dignity of the human person “.
From their massive appearance in the night from Saturday 5 to Sunday, September 6 following the evening Fountains at Versailles Sir Anish Kapoor, born of an Iraqi Jewish mother and a Hindu father, entrusted to the Le Figaro his intention “not to conceal the reality of the aggression and keep racist and antisemitic tags which became an integral part of [her] work.” This artist’s position, touched to the quick of his practice and insulted in his own person, raised many very mixed reviews. The artistic debate was quickly overtaken by the political debate. On the way to his exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Moscow in the old modernist Garage occupied by Dasha Zhukova in which he presents five works from Wednesday, he says today, exclusively for Le Figaro the impact of the decision of a French court on contemporary art in public space.
LE FIGARO Do you understand the Tribunal’s decision of Versailles to force you to obscure the anti-Semitic tags on “Dirty Corner”?
Anish Kapoor .- This decision breaks my heart. I do not understand how we got to an absurd situation. Since June, my work “Dirty Corner” was vandalized three times. Not a track. No progress in the investigation. No one is heard to respond to these repeated attacks, made in the public space and in an enclosed space, a work commissioned by a French institution. We know nothing. The blur is complete. How is this possible? What’s happening in Versailles? And these tags antisemitic aim all their hatred of me. This hatred hit me in the face. I say loud, I get that shot, I do not erase the insult because it is beyond my personal case. And there, suddenly, justice is accelerating and in very little time, here I am given notice to comply. This is a situation of great brutality to me. With the Palace of Versailles, we clearly expressed our intentions Friday morning in a “statement” (policy statement) which I think was balanced and fair. We wanted to symbolically intervene in “Dirty Corner” tomorrow Monday so as to respect French law without giving in to pressure from taggueurs. This ruling takes us aback. I feel like a girl who was raped and who are ordered to get dressed in the corner. I can not accept that. I will fight to make myself heard. My lawyers will defend my right artist assaulted on the soil of the French Republic and I hope they will be heard with the same speed.
“I will fight for I heard. My lawyers will defend my right artist assaulted on the soil of the French Republic “
What are you going to do now?
My first answer is artistic, because that is how I see the world. I thought a lot during those chaotic weeks, I will not give in to the attackers. They are vile. I will not withdraw “Dirty Corner,” even if the idea occurred to me in moments of sadness and discouragement. I do not want to just delete the insult made to me as an artist, man, foreign in a country that I love, the country of ideas and culture. I can not just remove the tag, simply because it happened and that would remove deny the fact. I think I found the Royal response that will make “Dirty Corner” something else, a room still with a painful past, but a piece that first claims the beauty of art. We will implement tomorrow morning. I hope this new answer to the aggression differently open the debate on art. Some may find it better than before. Other less well. This is how the artists face the real world. This is my royal surprise (laughs)!
Do you regret having shown your work at Versailles?
No, never. The France is too expensive to me. I refuse to believe that it is confined to a minority of narrow minds who appropriate the public space and judge, in defiance of the law and on behalf of all, what is good or not, possible or not, acceptable or not, worthy of France or not. Art in public space is a form of experimentation, delicate and essential. Without such testing, there is no culture. Without culture, there is no society.
The long controversy she has scalded you? Refer projects in France?
Of course, even if the sadness prevailed over other considerations often these days. Why this silence of the intellectuals? Why this political passivity? When President Hollande received me, he told me understand my position to bear the insults on “Dirty Corner”. He even found it “educational”. The Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, was courageous and supported me. Since, I find the sluggish public debate. That said, I warned my artists friends think twice before exposing France (laughs). To know they might have to face things beyond them. The last time I came to Paris, I had to be escorted by bodyguards. I just hope to come back in France without bodyguards.
“I do not think in terms of provocation. It is ridiculous to say that “
Last week in London, you launched a march in support of refugees,” the March Blanket, “with the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei currently triumph at the Royal Academy. This is a formidable chess player, like his heroes Marcel Duchamp. What was his advice
He just told me: “Hold on! Go through with your ideas! Do not stop! “I do not intend to stop, I can not, it’s gone too far. It is interesting for an artist to see the reaction that can generate a work in a given context. “Dirty Corner” is a sculptural reflection on the back of a Royal decoration on the underground of a perfect order designed by Le Nôtre to serve the King’s greatness. I’m still surprised that this metaphor on the political meaning of art, landscape built as the work of art, has become a burning fire. Playback that is made is not mine, but it interests me necessarily. Art has its own life and the artist also looks. It is an authentic “work in progress”! Any negative experience teaches you something. Maybe I unwittingly stirred something underground, a lurking violence in the shadow of the ground at a fragile moment of society. I have to find the right response to this evil wave.
Have you wanted to make a provocation in the King’s garden?
No, not at all. I do not think in terms of provocation. It’s ridiculous to say that. I wanted to think about the space that symbolizes power, that of the King regarding the genius that was Le Nôtre. This is the exact role of art to ask such questions and perspectives.
Some consider and say that this controversy is good for your rating. What do you say?
Mr. Bustamante said that, do you told me [French artist and new Director of Fine Arts, Ed]. This is something that does not even in my mind. It has nothing to do with me. I do not see how such insults may be more or bad for the market of an artist. This is an absurd shortcut. Shame on those who say such things.