Artist ‘ruins’ historic city
AN ARTIST has sparked outrage after he "desecrated" a famous French castle by covering its medieval walls and turrets with giant bright yellow circles.
Felice Varini glued dizzying rings made of thin aluminium strips across the historic stones of Carcassonne Castle, France's second-most visited tourist site after the Eiffel Tower, The Sun reported.
The massive hilltop citadel in the Languedoc-Roussillon region now resembles a giant target at a shooting range and not everyone is pleased.
Drawing more than four million visitors every year, the medieval fortified town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Tourism Carcassonne, who have been promoting the site's new look, said the stripes are "eccentric concentric circles", part of an event showcasing heritage and contemporary art in the area.
The organisation said Varini's spiralling artwork "spread like a wave, fragmenting and recomposing the geometry of the circles on the towers and curtain walls of the fortifications".
But many locals and tourists have slammed the design, calling it "ugly" and a "real horror", RT news reports.
Scorning the artist's efforts, one unimpressed person commented online: "Desecrating historic art is not art." Another said: "As a medievalist I am deeply shocked that the French authorities can allow such defacement."
Others on Instagram said they were "sad" to see such "vandalism completely disfiguring" the attraction.
Another told the tourist operator the circles are a "horror", adding: "What a shame to pay tens of thousands of euros [for it]. It completely ruins this beautiful city."
"The people of Carcassonne were not consulted," another resident said, The Local France reported.
"This is ruining our lives, because we have to look at it all day."
Some 2000 people have reportedly signed a petition demanding the circles be removed.
Locals told France Info radio that they had not been consulted about the exhibition, and that they're now forced to "look at it all day".
Some visitors, however, have praised the artwork, with one saying it is "kinda cool if you look at it from the right angle".
Despite the backlash, artist Varini has remained positive about his work.
He said the circles "perfectly" match the city's stonework and dismissed locals' concerns saying their reaction shows they are "deeply attached to their heritage".
In 2013, Varini placed giant geometric shapes across the facades of nine Victorian buildings around Granary Square in King's Cross, London.