France: Art festival cancelled after censorship row

The 13th edition of the Festival International d’Art Singulier in the city of Aubagne in the south of France has been called off by its organisers, and its director has stepped down, after the municipality tried to censor two works slated to be exhibited.


The offending works, dubbed “pornographic” by the mayor’s office, are Marie Morel’s large-scale erotic painting L’Amour and a kinetic sculpture of a woman giving birth—complete with a fountain of red-tinged water—by the artist Demin.

The works have been shown in public exhibitions in France and abroad. Marie Morel characterises the incident as part of a growing trend toward excessive caution around erotic art:

“Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that works of erotic art are more and more frequently censored,” Morel writes on her website. “The organizers are often afraid: Because of our society’s excessive vigilance, we’re reverting to a world in which our freedoms are increasingly curtailed.”

The organizers of the festival told Le Figaro that they will move the exhibition to a different city for future editions, though they have not selected a new location.

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‘Machine à Accoucher’

Footage of Demin’s kinetic sculpture ‘Machine à Accoucher’ (‘Birthing Machine’):

‘DEMIN machine à accoucher’
Machine de l’artiste plasticien Demin (2012)

Call for mayor to reverse decision

L’Observatoire de la liberté de création, a French NGO which monitors cases in the field of freedom of creativity, opposes the censorship in Aubagne and demands the mayor of Aubagne to reverse the decision.

» Read more about the public statement from l’Observatoire de la liberté de création (in French language):  L’Observatoire de la liberté de création s’oppose à la censure à Aubagne

» Open or download the statement:  communique_de_l_observatoire_de_la_liberte_de_creation_18_06_2014.pdf (PDF document)

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