Anish Kapoor’s controversial Versailles sculpture is to be covered in gold leaf to mask anti-Semitic slogans used to vandalise the work earlier this month.
Kapoor had wanted the offensive graffiti to remain on show to turn the piece of art into “a lament to a state of intolerance”, but a French court has ruled the slogans must be erased and an alarm installed.
“Dirty Corner”, which has been dubbed the “Queen’s vagina” by French media, will be covered in gold leaf, in what Kapoor has described as a “royal response” to vandalism.
The funnel-shaped work has been vandalised three times since it was installed in the Palace of Versailles in June.
The anti-Semitic slogans daubed on the sculpture included “At Versailles Christ is King” and “the second RAPE of the nation by DEVIANT JEWISH activism”.
Kapoor, who is Jewish of Sephardic Iraqi origin, said he wanted the offensive slogans to remain in order for the sculpture to “carry the scars of the renewed attack”.
“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,” he wrote on Instagram.
A court ruled the graffiti be removed immediately after Fabien Bouglé, a local right-wing councillor, filed a complaint against the artist and president of Versailles Catherine Pégard, accusing the pair of “inciting racial hatred, public insults, and complicity in these crimes [for leaving the graffiti]”.
The artist condemned the ruling, saying: "The racists in France have won a court judgement forcing the racist graffiti to be covered, blaming the artist and Versailles for inseminating racist propaganda. It is as if a woman is raped and blamed for her own rape."
Work began covering the statue in gold leaf on Monday 21 September.
A member of Kapoor’s gallery told Le Figaro: “It was important for the artist to respond to these attacks in his own way. This is an artistic answer to political violence.”
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