During his presidential campaign in 2007, one of Sarkozy's slogans was "Travailler plus pour gagner plus" (work more to earn more). Yesterday the Ecole Nationale Supérieur des Beaux Arts hung a piece by Chinese artist Ko Siu Lan which consisted of the four words, Earn, Less, Work and More on four separate banners. Within hours, the banners had been removed.
Ko said, " "I come from China and we know what to expect there but I would not have expected this kind of brutal censorship in France."
A Beaux Arts spokesperson said the work had been removed because its "explicitly political" message could violate "public service neutrality".
Despite the fact that the ENSdBA must have known what they were going to display, this sudden reversal of policy is said to have nothing to do with any possible pressure from the Elysée Palace.
The photo is a composite, the two banners shot from either direction.
Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture (and nephew of François Mitterrand), personally intervened and had the banners re hung. He also called Ko Siu Lan and apologized for "cette histoire idiote."