A painting from the Palais de Tokyo, called fuck abstraction, is currently causing controversy, accused of encouraging child pornography. In this work of the Parisian museum made by Miriam Cahn, we can see, bathed in a certain vagueness, a muscular and tall man imposing a to a much smaller character, and holding the head of another, both having their hands tied.
The painting is accompanied by an explanatory cartel, which warns that certain scenes "are likely to offend the sensibilities of the public" and gives context to the work: "The painting fuck abstraction! was made during the war in Ukraine and after the images of the Butch mass grave were broadcast as well as images of numerous rapes of women and men (...). Miriam Cahn reacts on the spot to the violence of these images that have circulated on social networks and gone around the world. »
"The artist here represents an adult person"
Yet, and despite these explanations, the work has been the subject of many criticisms, calling for it to be dropped. "This is what we dare to exhibit since February 17 at the Palais de Tokyo. (...) Get it done quickly. It's unbearable," tweeted Karl Zero, a TV host committed to fighting paedocriminality but also regularly accused of conspiracy. "What is the use of some of Ms. Cahn Miriam's paintings featuring children performing oral sex on an adult? (...) We ask that the paintings in question, by Mrs. Cahn Miriam, be taken down at the Palais de Tokyo," also wrote a petition, signed by more than 8,000 people. The association Juristes pour l'enfance has entered the battle, calling Sunday, March 19 to remove the painting "representing a man imposing a to a child".
However, the cartel of the exhibition states very explicitly that this is not an apology for paedocriminality: "For the artist, 'this is a person with his hands tied, raped before being killed and thrown into the street. The repetition of images of violence in wars is not intended to shock but to denounce." The museum also said in a statement that "the artist here represents an adult person."
In view of the reactions to a painting exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, the artist Miriam Cahn wishes to recall, as it is presented throughout the exhibition, what it represents and denounces. pic.twitter.com/cHk38aYvE6
— Palais de Tokyo (@PalaisdeTokyo) March 18, 2023
Access to this content has been blocked in order to respect your choice of consent
By clicking on "I ACCEPT", you accept the deposit of cookies by external services and will thus have access to the content of our partners
And to better pay 20 Minutes, do not hesitate to accept all cookies, even for one day only, via our button "I accept for today" in the banner below.
The ministry questioned
But the explanation is insufficient for Juristes pour l'enfance, and does not exonerate the work of falling under the law: "It does not matter (sic) the allegations or even the intentions of the artist: they do not allow to escape the criminal qualification insofar as the greatest number recognizes the representation of a child in the kneeling and raped face. " The Penal Code prohibits "fixing, recording or transmitting the image or representation of a minor with a view to its dissemination, when the image or representation is pornographic."
For Juristes pour l'Enfance, which calls on the Palais de Tokyo and the Ministry of Culture, which manages the museum, "this type of representation does not make it possible to fight against paedophile acts but on the contrary is likely to reinforce, or even encourage, people with paedophile tendencies to take action. " The Palais de Tokyo has not yet withdrawn the work, and the Ministry of Culture, contacted by 20 Minutes, had still not spoken at the time of publication of this article.
"I wasn't sure I could make an image of that"
It should be noted that the artist had herself expressed her doubts about the representation of these rapes, in an interview with Le Monde, in February: "After Boutcha, I was not sure I could make an image of that. But I knew I had to try to show these crimes, because what shocks me is that it will never change: you don't know how to learn. »
On social networks, reactions are clearly divided. "Tissue of lies," some say. One user, on the contrary, considers it "difficult to see in this painting an apology or enjoyment". And adds: "We can debate the means and political effects of art, or the use of images to denounce. But removing the word war from our dictionaries won't help. »
- Miscellaneous facts Paris