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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Tomato soup climate protests are no big deal, says German artist

The tomato soup-throwing art gallery protests of climate activists pose no threat to oil paintings and are a valid form of expression, according to German artist Daniel Richter.


"Oil paintings are virtually indestructible, like car paint," he told Spiegel magazine in an interview, adding that he would have no problem with it happening to his work.


Claims to the contrary are merely propaganda by conservators, who"have to say that to make their job look more important. You can wipe tomato soup off one of my paintings and that's it."


Richter's comments follow a string of incidents in different countries in which Just Stop Oil activists threw tomato soup at famous paintings, including Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers." In most cases the works were protected by glass.


Richter, who came to fame in the 1990s when he moved into art from music in Hamburg's squatter punk scene, also expressed his sympathy for climate activists and squatters.


Civil disobedience, he said, is almost obligatory: "It is proof that you live in a democracy and not in any other system."


A documentary about Richter's life by director Pepe Danquart will be released in cinemas in Germany on February 2.


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