These conservationists had a very surprising way of protesting against its gravediggers. Two environmental activists from the Just Stop Oil movement, which demands the cessation of all new infrastructure linked to fossil fuels, stuck this Thursday, June 30 to the frame of a Van Gogh painting in a London museum. They targeted a painting from 1889, Peach trees in bloomdepicting a landscape from the south of France, on display at the Courtauld Gallery, according to the environmental organization and museum.
“Sorry everyone, we don’t feel like doing this, we’re glued to this painting, this beautiful painting, because we’re terrified for our future”, explained in a video posted online by the organization Louis McKechnie, a 21-year-old activist. Already arrested 20 times, the young man who spent six weeks in prison this winter for having blocked the motorway that surrounds London with others, notably distinguished himself by interrupting a football match in March after attaching himself at a goal post.
BREAKING: Just Stop Oil protesters have glued themselves to a Vincent Van Gogh painting at London’s Courtauld Gallery. More follows… pic.twitter.com/5a1ZblKgzu
—TalkTV (@TalkTV) June 30, 2022
Ground markings in Glasgow
Louis McKechnie recently told AFP that he was ready to become a “public enemy N.1” to warn about the climate crisis and did not see “ not really » of limits, as long as the actions are “non-violent” and do not endanger lives. Referring to the ” 40 new government fossil fuel projects »a figure frequently cited by environmental associations, he estimated that signing each of them was equivalent to “sign our death warrant”in this video where the two activists, wearing an orange Just Stop Oil t-shirt, have their fingers on the frame of the work.
Just Stop Oil points out that this action comes at a time when Provence, the region in southern France painted by Van Gogh, is in danger of suffering from drought. Joined by AFP, the Courtauld Gallery explained that the room where the painting is exhibited had been “immediately closed to the public” after the two activists stuck to the frame in the afternoon. The museum was counting on a normal reopening this Friday, July 1. According to Just Stop Oil, five of its activists were arrested on Wednesday after an action at a museum in Glasgow, Scotland, where they painted inscriptions on the floor and a wall and glued themselves to the frame of a 19th century painting depicting a landscape of the Scottish Highlands.
Cream cake in Paris
Among the other precedents, one easily remembers the way in which a man had thrown, on May 29, a cream cake on the glass protecting Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris, claiming there too to act for the planet. Previously, disguised with a wig and cap, the 36-year-old man “simulated a situation of disability to use a wheelchair and approach the work, installed in a secure showcase” of the Salle des Etats and painted by Leonardo da Vinci, had specified The Louvre.
He then had “thrown a pastry on the window that he had hidden in his personal effects”what “had no consequences on the painting, which suffered no damage”, added the museum. The man was immediately seized and evacuated by the reception and surveillance agents and then handed over to the police. He was then admitted to the psychiatric infirmary of the police headquarters and an investigation was opened for “attempted degradation of cultural property”, we learned from the Paris prosecutor’s office.