February 12, 2010 / 6:03 PM / 10 years ago

China artist accuses Paris art school of censorship

PARIS (Reuters) - A Chinese artist has accused French art school Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) of censorship after it removed her work, echoing a slogan of President Nicolas Sarkozy, from its facade.

The exhibit — four banners hanging from ENSBA buildings in central Paris and emblazoned with the words “Work,” “Less,” “Earn” and “More” — refer to “Work More to Earn More,” the ruling UMP party’s slogan in the 2007 presidential campaign.

The opposition Socialists have mocked the phrase frequently since then as unemployment has risen.

The work “could constitute an attack on the neutrality of public service...,” the art school said in a statement.

“I find it despicable. In China, we speak a lot about censorship but my work has never been censored in such a brutal fashion in China,” artist Siu-lan Ko said.

Her lawyer decried the move. “Here is an artist censored by the cultural institution itself and it is a pure scandal,” Agnes Tricoire told France Info radio.

The French ministry of culture declined to comment.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Louise Ireland

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