The art of nothing, acknowledgment of artistic paternity – Literary and artistic property

Hands against the head. The director versus the designer. Daniel Druet, 81-year-old sculptor, 1968 Grand Prix de Rome, against Maurizio Cattelan, 61, great conceptual artist. The former was the exclusive modeller for almost ten years at the Grévin Museum in Paris. The second is an iconoclastic figure of contemporary art.

Daniel Druet started working in 1999 with Maurizio Cattelan. The latter commissioned wax sculptures of John Paul II. Directed by Cattela, it becomes the nona pray, the Pope crushed by a meteorite. By John Fitzgerald Kennedy, nowdepicting the American president in a coffin, or Adolf Hitler, To the, a boy kneeling from behind whose viewer discovers Hitler’s face as he walks around him. This sculpture sold for $17 million in 2016.

After a fruitful and profitable collaboration for the sculptor, the estrangement. Daniel Druet asked the gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin to associate his name as director-sculptor with Cattelan’s works. Who will never get it right. And here is the procedure. Both the gallery owner and the Monnaie de Paris, which in 2016 organized the exhibition “Cattelan, Without fear of love”, but not Cattelan, are on loan from Druet, who claims exclusive authorship of nine works. La Monnaie de Paris will attract the artist to the procedure. The sole author of the works, according to the citation, is Daniel Druet.

On Friday, due to the influx, the hearing scheduled in a small room is moved to a larger room of the Paris court. Maurizzio Cattelan is the conspicuous absentee. His gallery owner is present. Like Mr. Druet.

Timed arguments, civil procedure, each party defends its arguments. For Mr. Druet’s lawyer, Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois, the author is his client. In the sense of article L. 111-1 of the Code of Intellectual Property: “The author of a work of the spirit enjoys over this work, by the mere fact of its creation, an exclusive intangible property right enforceable against all. This right has intellectual and moral attributes. »

“Look for the artist, find his name”

“Daniel Druet was not chosen by chance. There are not five sculptors who sculpt like him. They made an effort to pick it up. If they wanted a performer, they only had to bring a tiler”, lights MY Bourgeois. Maurizio Cattelan has just given some indications to Daniel Druet. “An idea cannot be protected, someone has to carry it out. And the only one who can do that is your client. “He infuses spirit into matter. This is the act of creation. »

“By his own admission, Maurizio Cattelan is incapable of sculpting, drawing, painting,” the lawyer continues as Emmanuel Perrotin, the Italian artist’s gallery owner, gets agitated and angry behind his lawyers. “If Maurizio Cattelan had replaced Daniel Druet, would we have the same sculptures? Do not ! continues the lawyer who specifies that he has no contempt for Mr. Cattelan’s work, unlike the other party for the work of his client. “No, it’s not the end of conceptual art, it’s the end of an era,” he insists.

“Even if you don’t touch the material, even if you don’t put your finger on it, as soon as you give instructions, you can be the exclusive author of a work,” replies the Perrotin gallery’s lawyer, the president of the Pierre-Olivier Sur bar association, whose conclusions are based on the work of law professor Pierre-Yves Gautier.

“interchangeable link”

The instructions given by the artist to the “agitator” are “of mathematical precision”, replies the lawyer, reading in court the specific requests of Maurizio Cattelan, transmitted by one of his assistants to Daniel Druet for each of the sculptures. Angle of inclination of the head, bust, color of the faces, position of the hands… “Who is in charge, who is the master, who is the creator? Obviously Maurizio Cattelan. Who is the performer? Obviously Daniel Druet”, he affirms, presenting the latter as an “interchangeable link”.

The test, the nona pray presented at the Monnaie de Paris was not made by the sculptor. “If Daniel Druet does not exist, the works of Maurizio Cattelan do exist. If Maurizio Cattelan does not exist, the works of Daniel Druet should be returned to the Grévin museum. »

Daniel Druet also considers this sculpture to be an infringement of his copyright. Nonsense for the lawyer of the Monnaie de Paris, Renaud Le Gunehec. “Looking for the author is looking for the work of the mind, where the expression of creative genius is. Because the staging, the position of the statues, the composition are the work of Maurizio Cattelan.

“The original sin of this procedure is to expropriate Maurizio Cattelan of his copyright without question,” his lawyer, Mr.Y Éric Andrieu for whom the court cannot convict his client at the request of Mr. Druet who claims almost four million.

In their written conclusions, the gallery owner’s lawyers and Maurizio Cattelan have been inspired by art historians to enlighten the court about conceptual art, defined not by the aesthetic properties of a work but by the concept that the work of art conveys.

Thus, starting from the distinction between the artist and the manufacturer given by a former director of the Center Pompidou, Alfred Pacquement: “The tendency has spread widely among many artists […] imagine a concept, whose contours define through aesthetic choices, which require manufacturers for the material realization, providing them with the appropriate directives […] a notable proportion of contemporary sculpture falls into this category. For reasons of dimensions, technical competence and the use of certain materials. […] There is a creator on one side and a builder on the other, recruited and paid for this work of material execution of the conceptual art object, thus fixed in a form, according to the will of the artist and his alone. »

After his argument, Mr.Y Andrieu cited an excerpt from the 1928 ruling that opposed the sculptor Brancusi to American customs that considered one of his sculptures not as a work of art but as merchandise and as such subject to taxes. Customs lost their case: “A so-called modern art school has developed, whose proponents attempt to represent abstract ideas rather than imitate natural objects. Whether or not we sympathize with these ideas and the schools that represent them, we believe that the Court must take into account their existence and their influence on the art world.

Who is the father, among others, of the Pope crushed by a meteorite, Maurizio Cattelan or Daniel Druet?

White smoke on July 8 at the Paris court.

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