Artist: Artists in the art show titled "Présumés Innocents—L'Art Contemporain et l'Enfance" (Presumed Innocent—Contemporary Art and Childhood). Artists in the exhibit include: Robert Mapplethorpe, Christian Boltanski, Elke Krystufek, Ugo Rondinone, Annette Messag
Confronting Bodies: La Mouette - a children's protection organization; Bordeaux officials/government
Date of Action: June 2000 - the present (January 2007)
Specific Location: Bordeaux, France
Description of Artwork: The issue surrounding the art exhibit focuses mainly on two artists: Elke Krystufek's installation The Tunnel, which shows the artist masturbating, and drawings by Ugo Rondinone.
Description of Incident: The scandal continues to grow around "Présumés Innocents—L'Art Contemporain et l'Enfance" (Presumed Innocent—Contemporary Art and Childhood). The exhibition, which took place at CAPC Bordeaux from June to October 2000, gave rise to an official judicial inquiry after local children's organization La Mouette lodged a complaint, claiming that the show contained child pornography. Henri-Claude Cousseau, director of the CAPC Bordeaux in 2000 and now director of Paris's École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, was summoned to a judicial inquiry in Bordeaux to answer questions about his role in the exhibition. In addition, the show's cocurators, Marie-Laure Bernadac and Stéphanie Moisdon, were brought before the case's judge, Jean-Louis Croizier. But there appears to be a striking lack of evidence. La Mouette based their complaint on the catalogue, which contains images of artworks that were not in the exhibition while excluding other works that were shown. While La Mouette cited twenty-one artworks—including pieces by the late Robert Mapplethorpe, Christian Boltanski, Elke Krystufek, Ugo Rondinone, Annette Messager, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and Carsten Höller— The issue surrounding the art exhibit focuses mainly on two artists: Elke Krystufek's installation The Tunnel, which shows the artist masturbating, and drawings by Ugo Rondinone.
Results of Incident: Krystufek, questioned by the Viennese police, said that the installation in question was destroyed and thus could not be provided as evidence. "I attempted to demonstrate (to the judge) the legitimacy of all these artists," Moisdon told Artforum.com, adding that Rondinone is currently completing a commission for a Venetian church. For Moisdon, the complaint reflects the "dysfunctionality" of French law, in particular the 1993 Jolibois amendment, which makes no distinction between a real act of violence and its representation. Despite the lack of evidence, Le Monde's Nathaniel Herzberg reports that not everything will be easy for Bernadac and Moisdon. The mayor of Bordeaux refuses to assume the cocurators' legal fees, or those of Cousseau. Moreover, the group could still face a hefty fine and up to three years in prison.
Source: artforum.com: http://www.artforum.com/news/week=200702 ; and, Guardian Unlimited: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/art/2006/12/post_8.html
Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship