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Monumenta project in jeopardy

Kabakovs could be victims of French budget cuts

Next year’s annual “Monumenta” installation at Paris’s Grand Palais could be cancelled because of French budget cuts. The Russian-born, US-based artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov were pencilled in to create the large-scale work for the palace, but a spokesman for the French culture ministry, which partly funds the series, says that the project “is not yet confirmed because of cost issues”. One of the Kabakovs’ representatives in Paris, the dealer Thaddaeus Ropac (FL, F4), declined to comment.

The culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti, has introduced a series of drastic cost-cutting measures as part of an austerity package, including the cancellation of the former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s grand projet, La Maison de l’histoire de France (French History Museum). The government recently announced a 4.5% cut in the state culture budget for 2013.

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, the Kabakovs’ piece was budgeted at €5m. The “Monumenta” commission in 2011 was awarded to Anish Kapoor, who created Leviathan, a gigantic installation made from 18 tons of PVC; the sculpture cost €3m to manufacture. The work was seen by 277,687 visitors during its six-week run.

This year, the fifth edition was handed over to the French artist Daniel Buren, who installed his work, Excentrique(s), travail in situ, in the Grand Palais last spring. His piece is reported to have cost €1.5m.

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