A visitor to the Tokyo Palace in Paris has damaged a painting by Swiss artist Miriam Cahn. The artwork depicts the sexual violence of Russian soldiers in Ukraine. The incident occurred during the exhibition “Fuck Abstraction!”.
Cahn’s painting features a faceless figure raping a victim with their hands tied behind their back. Some visitors were outraged, claiming that the painting depicted the forced oral sex of a child, but both the artist and the museum denied these accusations. The French State Council confirmed that the painting does not depict pedophilia and is an example of freedom of expression.
The artist has repeatedly stated that the painting aims to draw attention to the war crimes committed by Russia. This work is her response to the discovery of mass graves in Bucha and numerous reports of rapes committed by Russian soldiers during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
L’imbécile chauffé à blanc par des démagogues, qui a vandalisé le tableau de Miriam Cahn au Palais de Tokyo, sera-t-il autant haï, lui et ses inspirateurs, que les écolos qui aspergent des murs de peinture, et n’attaquent sans les abimer que des œuvres protégées par des vitres? pic.twitter.com/yXRETvq8cy
— claude askolovitch (@askolovitchC) May 8, 2023
On May 7th, an elderly man splashed purple paint on a painting, and was subsequently arrested by the police. The Tokyo Palace will file a complaint for property damage and obstruction of freedom of speech. French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the act of vandalism against the artwork, saying, “On May 8th, as we celebrate the victory of freedom, I condemn the act of vandalism committed yesterday at the Tokyo Palace. An attack on a work of art is an attack on our values. In France, art is always free, and respect for cultural creativity is guaranteed.”