Amidst the growing protests by climate activists all over the world, an equestrian statue was destroyed by climate activists in France. On November 18, protesters from the Derniere Renovation group smeared a silver equestrian piece by US artist Charles Ray with orange paint. According to The Art Newspaper, the sculpture was owned by France’s most prominent private collectors.
The work stands outside the Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection in Paris which was founded by the French Luxury goods billionaire Francois Pinault. In the Instagram post shared by the group, the protesters were seen placing a T-shirt on the horse rider, the t-shirt reads, “We have 858 days left”. The message was in reference to the three-year time limit for reducing CO2 emissions.
The protestors were seen sitting in front of the sculpture holding each other’s hands. In the post, one of the protestors named Aruanu wrote, “What other choice do we have? I’m 26 and there’s almost no chance of me dying of old age. It must be said, government inaction is mass murder for my generation.”
A post shared by Dernière Rénovation (@derniererenovation)
The French Cultural Minister Rima Abdul Malak visited the site and condemned the actions of the group calling it “Eco-Vandalism”. Taking to social media, Malak tweeted, “Eco-vandalism goes up a notch: an unprotected sculpture by Charles Ray has been sprayed with paint in Paris. Thank you to the restorers who intervened quickly. Art and ecology are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are common causes!”
This was not the first time that climate activists daubed an art piece to create awareness about climate change. Groups like Just Stop Oil in the UK have a history of doing similar shenanigans to send their message. Paintings of artists like Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt have been destroyed in recent days by different climate activist groups.