An artist condemned for appearing naked in front of the faithful

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The Franco-Luxembourgish performer Deborah de Robertis was sentenced Thursday by the French justice to a fine of 2,000 euros, including 1,000 suspended, for showing herself naked in 2018 during one of her performances in front of the Grotto of the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

“We are going to appeal”, reacted immediately his lawyer Me Marie Dosé, stressing “(that) this is the first criminal conviction of his client.”

The 36-year-old artist has been acquitted several times after similar performances, notably in 2017 after showing his sex at the Louvre museum in front of the Mona Lisa.

On August 31, 2018, she had stripped naked, hands joined and her head covered with a blue veil, at the entrance to the Grotto of the Sanctuary of Lourdes where, according to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary had appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. People had intervened to cover up her nudity and called the police.

Then the sanctuary had lodged a complaint, condemning “an act of exhibitionism which shocked the faithful present”, denouncing an “allegedly artistic” approach.

“This decision goes against the jurisprudence that is emerging today around sexual exhibition”, said Thursday Me Dosé.

“The criminal courts are not there to decide who is an artist or who is not. Freedom of expression must not endure disproportionate interference, ”declared the lawyer, repeating the terms of her plea of ​​June 26th during the hearing before the criminal court of Tarbes.

“The legal consequences are important, it is important that we debate, that we raise questions that are political,” Deborah de Robertis told AFP.

“From a feminist point of view, emancipation comes through the body. It’s normal for women to use their bodies as a means of expression, it’s a reversal, “added the artist, saying she would continue” to use performance “as a means of expression.

Contacted by AFP, the Sanctuary of Lourdes did not wish to react to this condemnation.

Deborah de Robertis has already been tried on several occasions for sexual exhibition and has been acquitted on each occasion.

In 2014 and 2016, the performer had been the subject of recalls to the law, which are not convictions, for two stripped actions at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, where she had imitated the paintings “The origin of the world” by Gustave Courbet and “Olympia” by Édouard Manet.

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