French president's father makes waves with loud art

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 82-year-old artist father is putting on his first show in Paris, featuring naked buttocks, exploding television sets and a portrait of French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

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A day before the opening on Saturday, however, Pal Sarkozy and his German creative partner, Werner Hornung, appeared to be tiring of the presidential connection and resulting media storm.

“Oh no, not again the one with Carla, let’s take another one,” Pal Sarkozy told photographers looking at the portrait of Bruni-Sarkozy perched on a piano and playing the guitar to a backdrop of angel wings and rays of light -- a gift for the presidential couple’s wedding in 2008.

A red rose placed on the piano is meant to symbolize love as well as Bruni-Sarkozy’s political views, which are more to the left than her husband’s.

After posing with the digital, computer-generated portraits of Bruni-Sarkozy and the president for glossy magazines around the world, the artists have decided to stop showing those works.

“I’m fed up, I can’t take it anymore,” Hornung told Reuters. “We’re not going to show them next time. They aren’t our masterpieces -- we have 70 paintings and everyone only talks about these two.”

Pal Sarkozy, a dashing charmer who bears a striking resemblance to the president but is much taller, has been drawing since his youth. Some of his sketches from the 1940s were included in the exhibition, which is just a stones’ throw from the presidential Elysee palace.

He first met Hornung when they both worked in advertising, and much of their work is a critique of that world, complete with punny titles.

“Democrazy”, meant as an attack on the media, shows a tangle of cables and a bullet-ridden, exploding TV set.

“Happy Dolores” features a bare-bottomed woman in stockings, her one wooden leg sprouting a white flower.

Like his son, whose private life regularly makes headlines, Sarkozy senior is not exactly known for being media shy.

Earlier this year, he published an autobiography in which he talked about his experience as an immigrant from Hungary and his many love affairs, including his marriage with the president’s mother, which ended in divorce.

“He prefers it when I paint rather than write,” Pal Sarkozy said of his son’s reaction to his creative endeavors.

Additional reporting by Noemie Olive; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore