Sculptor Anish Kapoor defends Versailles 'vagina' artwork

image copyrightAP
image captionThe sculpture, named Dirty Corner, is the centrepiece of Anish Kapoor's display in Versailles

The British sculptor Anish Kapoor has defended a piece of art in the French palace of Versailles that has been called "dirty" and "gross".

The installation, called Dirty Corner, sits in the grounds outside the palace.

Mr Kapoor said in a French interview it signified "the vagina of the queen coming into power" - but later said the work was open to interpretation.

The Versailles palace was the home of Marie Antoinette, the 18th Century queen of France.

In a tweet, Versailles' mayor said the award-winning artist had "slipped up".

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe installation has attracted criticism and praise in France
image copyrightAP
image captionMr Kapoor said his work "has multiple interpretive possibilities"

A German tourist, Dunja, told Reuters: "It's confusing, a big vagina and a palace.

"It's one of the most famous places in Paris and I just wanted to see it and I saw this building, this statue, and I don't know what it is."

Another tourist, Megan, from the US, said: "When you think you're coming to Versailles you'd expect like classic French, maybe a big statue of some Roman god but this just seems dirty, gross."

The piece has come in for criticism, but also praise, by female academics in the French press.

image copyrightAFP/Getty Images
image captionTourists have expressed bemusement at the sculpture

Mr Kapoor said on Friday he was misquoted in an earlier interview.

"A work has multiple interpretive possibilities," he said.

"Inevitably, one comes across the body, our bodies and a certain level of sexuality. But it is certainly not the only thing it is about."

The large metal sculpture is only part of Mr Kapoor's installation in Versailles. He also installed large mirrors, and a wall defaced by paint seemingly shot from a cannon.

Mr Kapoor is a former Turner Prize winner whose work has been shown around the world.

He is best known for the Orbital Tower at the heart of the Olympic Park in London.

More on this story