Berlin artists lead lamb to guillotine in stunt

FRANKFURT Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:32pm EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Two artists in Berlin drew public condemnation after building a guillotine and taking votes from the public on whether they should use it to slaughter a lamb as a stunt.

A website they set up for the project showed that almost 300,000 votes had been cast by midday Tuesday, with 23 days left before voting ends. More than half of the votes were opposed to killing the lamb.

A video posted on website YouTube on April 18 shows the two students of the Berlin University of the Arts, Iman Rezai and Rouven Materne, building the guillotine and painting it bright pink, yellow and orange.

"The guillotine is the most compact reflection of our society," Materne said in the video, which also shows one of the men holding the lamb in place beneath the machine's blade.

The guillotine is designed for decapitation and is most commonly associated with the execution of the French aristocracy during the French Revolution in the 18th century.

The YouTube video drew almost 150 comments, many of which expressed outrage over the plan. German mass-circulation daily Bild called the project "twisted".

"There were people who wanted to forbid us to do this. There were people who celebrated the idea from day one. And there were some people who were afraid of us," Materne said in the video.

The University of the Arts, where Rezai and Materne study under Swiss-Japanese artist Leiko Ikemura, sought to distance itself from the project, saying it was not part of the two men's university-related work.

A spokeswoman for the university also said the two artists had assured the school that their guillotine project was intended as an "artistic provocation" and that they had no plans to kill the lamb.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, editing by Paul Casciato)

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