The reaction of Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant by his artist name) was expected, it arrived through a statement in English, on the night of Monday, December 14, twenty-four hours after the hijacking by graffiti artists anonymous with his gigantic Marianne, in the 13e district of Paris. From the outset, the American artist cut short the controversy: “I am on the side of people who protest against injustices, so if the intention [des graffeurs] was this, I understand it. “
On the other hand, he wishes to clarify the reasons which led him to paint this fresco in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks, in case it was targeted for the wrong reasons: “It would be a mistake to think that this image of the motto“ Liberty, Equality, Fraternity ”was a political stance other than faith in the value of human life, of human dignity, and a way of showing my support to the French people after the suffering of the terrorist attack. “
The American artist reaffirms his attachment to “Beauty” of this motto, which was crossed out in white paint during the anonymous night assault: “These are principles that I have been putting forward clearly, and for a long time, through my work and my commitment with messages of peace and harmony, but also of respect for the planet and for people of all origins. “
“Thick layer of varnish”
The end of his text is more cryptic: “If some think that the work Liberty, Equality, Fraternity has been hijacked by people they disagree with, so my answer is, I’m not leaving it in their hands, and so should you. “ Is he talking about the graffiti artists who came to hack his creation, or the collector who entrusted the version on canvas to Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign, a canvas that followed him to his office at the Elysee?
The spectacular commando operation, which beyond the erasure of the national currency, covered Marianne’s face with red tears, should still remain visible until early January 2021. This is what confided to the World Mehdi Ben Cheikh, director of the Galerie Itinerrance, which represents the artist in Paris and orchestrates the muralist course on Boulevard Vincent-Auriol, where the fresco is located.
“We have the green light from the artist to restore the work. Which will be quite simple despite appearances. We had applied a thick layer of marine varnish on the fresco to protect it, so a powerful jet of water should take off the lines and drips. As for the face, it will surely have to be repainted in white. We will take care of it after the holidays ”, sums up the gallery owner. This leaves a little time for the curious to come and contemplate the visual breach, which the authors had published on Tuesday evening on making of, accompanied in caption, by their text.
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