Controversial painting vandalised with spray paint at Paris museum

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A controversial painting by Swiss artist Miriam Cahn on display at a Paris exhibition was vandalised with spray paint Sunday, the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum said.

The painting entitled "Fuck abstraction!", on display since mid-February, shows a person with their hands tied behind their back being forced to perform oral sex on a faceless, powerful man.

Critics have said the victim in the painting depicts a child, which Cahn has denied, claiming it's a representation of rape as a weapon of war and crime against humanity.

Several children's rights groups had denounced the painting as child pornography, calling for it be withdrawn.

But their bid to have it removed was rejected in the French courts.

On Sunday, a man "deliberately degraded" the work "by projecting paint" in purple, the museum told AFP.

The man, described as elderly, according to a source close to the case, was "unhappy with the sexual portrayal of a child and an adult presented in the painting" but was not affiliated with an activist group.

He "was immediately apprehended by security agents... and taken away by police", the museum said, adding it would file a complaint for damage to property and obstruction of freedom of expression.

Cultural Minister Rima Abdul Malak said in a statement that the artwork, as presented in this context, had been approved to be presented to the public by the justice system.

The artist herself hit back at criticism of the work, in a statement issued by the museum in March.

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