PARIS - A once controversial sculpture set in the heart of Paris is going to rack and ruin and will have to be torn down failing action by the authorities, according to the artist behind the work, Daniel Buren.
Buren's striped columns in the historic state-owned Palais Royal gardens near the Louvre are "50 percent destroyed", the artist told AFP this weekend. "It's a form of vandalism, vandalism by the state," he said.
Set atop water-courses in the ancient garden's courtyard in 1986, the columns caused outrage at the time as a contemporary blot on the landscape.
For the past eight years, Buren said, the water had been left to run dry and the electricity turned off, while his efforts to get the authorities to renovate and clean the work had failed time after time.
"Thousands of people come from around the world to see something that is half destroyed," he said. "Either it is fixed, much as you clean a fountain and get it going again, or it is decided not to do so and then I cannot accept to leave it the way it is."
"In that case it must be demolished," Buren said.
The head of the culture ministry's architecture and heritage department, Michel Clement, said the columns were likely to be restored in 2009 as part of a global restoration of the gardens scheduled to last until 2011. The ministry, he said, would discuss the project with the artist in the first term of 2008.