Artist Sir Anish Kapoor 'devastated' as vandals attack sculpture again


British-Indian artist Sir Anish Kapoor said he is "devastated" after anti-Semitic phrases were daubed on his sculpture at the palace of Versailles.

The Turner-prize winner said his artwork would "carry the scars of this renewed attack" after it was targeted by vandals for a second time since June.

French President Hollande has criticised the vandalism and said "all would be done" to catch the culprits.

Sir Anish's sculpture - a 230ft-long metallic cavern known as Dirty Corner - prompted controversy when it was installed because of its contrast with the traditional glamour of Versailles.

He also reportedly told a French newspaper that his work suggested "the vagina of the queen (Marie Antoinette)."

Following the attack, Sir Anish, 61, said he will not remove the anti-Semitic phrases while a police investigation is carried out and will consider whether they are now "part of the artwork".

He told the Press Association: "I'm devastated. The first time was pure vandalism - this is criminal hate. It would be classed as incitement of racial hatred. It's hugely offensive. It's deeply vile. 

"I will allow myself the time to consider whether it's part of the artwork, given this kind of thing is happening.

"There is a terrible anti-Semitic current running through France."

In a statement released following the vandalism, Sir Anish said the attack had brought to the "forefront the intolerance and racism in our midst" at a time when thousands of refugees are arriving in Europe.

He said: "The vandalised sculpture now looks like a graveyard; the stones are now gravestones marking the ruinous politics of fundamentalist bigotry. Dirty Corner allows this dirty politics to expose itself fully, in full view for all to see.

"It is urgent that we show our solidarity with the oppressed, the downtrodden and those of our brothers and sisters in need.

"As the artist I have - for the second time- to ask myself what this act of violence means to my work.

"The sculpture will now carry the scars of this renewed attack. I will not allow this act of violence and intolerance to be erased. Dirty Corner will now be marked with hate and I will preserve these scars as a memory of this painful history. I am determined that Art will triumph."

Dirty Corner was installed in June and is due to run until November.