Artist: Thierry de Gortier|
Confronting Bodies: Yiorgos Karatzaferis, leader of LAOS (an extreme right wing party) demanded the deposition of “ASPERGES ME”, because he considered it blasphemous to Christianity. Miltiadis Evert, the former leader of the main opposition party ( New Democracy) declared that “if the work is not taken down by the organizers by Friday he will go andtake it down himself”. Father Epiphanios, the representative of the Greek Orthodox Church, sent a letter to Evangelos Venizelos, Secretary of Culture, requiring the protection of “our secret symbols”. The Board of the Cultural Olympiad and the Director, Christos Joachimides, decided to withdraw the work.
Date of Action: December 2003
Specific Location: Athens, Greece
Description of Artwork: see image
It is also important to underline that the exhibition was taking place in ERGOSTASIO, which is part of the Athens School of Fine Arts, which means that not only artistic but also Academic Freedom was not respected from the curator. Furthermore, the exhibition was an International show and part of the Cultural Olympiad, which was supposed to support values such as multiculturalism, diversity, and communication between various opinions, and to promote the free exchange of creative insight.
“The work of Thierry de Gordier ASPERGES ME was considered as an image insulting of the Cross e.g. of the symbol of Christian Religion. The intense discourse that was initiated because of that tends to overshadow the essence of the exhibition and obstruct the contact of the public with contemporary art. However, the aim of OUTLOOK is to present to the public the full range of the artistic tendencies and create a genuine interest of the public for contemporary art. Considering all the above the Board of the Cultural Olympiad and the director of the exhibition decide to withdraw this specific work and post the present announcement explaining the reasons for the withdrawal.”
The Secretary of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, a professor of Constitutional Law declares “ the freedom of art is restricted by the law and public taste”
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