Artist forces French ministry to remove graffiti star's homage

Paris (AFP) –


The maker of France's most famous modern public artwork has forced the country's culture ministry to take down a piece of street art it had put up next to it.

Veteran artist Daniel Buren, whose 260 candy-stripy columns at Palais Royal were once themselves condemned as a carbuncle, objected to the temporary work which was meant to be a homage to his own.

The ministry confirmed that it had taken down the striped posters put up by Parisian graffiti artist Le Module de Zeer.

He had covered the 17th-century colonnade around Buren's work with black and white horizontal stripes, which were meant to be "in dialogue" with Buren's vertical ones.

But the 80-year-old, who has brought the state to court in the past for not properly looking after his work, said that he had not been informed and demanded they be taken down.

Le Module de Zeer, whose real name is Mehdi, has built up a cult following in the French capital, covering a nightclub and a giant disused factory chimney with futuristic doodles.

Jean Faucheur, the curator who helped put up Le Module de Zeer's work at Palais Royal, said the controversy had been "very hurtful" for the artist.

"It is a real pity, it's a scandal which could have been avoided," he said.

But the French culture ministry said they had no choice but to act after admitting that they had not asked Buren's permission. "We are the ministry of intellectual property and copyright... and we have to be exemplary," a spokesman told AFP.