Culture clash

A remarkable case in Belgium: an artist designed a tower of beach cabins, but is being sued for plagiarism by another artist with a very similar design.

The tower of beach cabins by French artist Jean-François Fourtou is causing a lot of commotion in the Belgian city of Knokke-Heist. The design is part of “Beaufort”, a touristic culture project along the Belgian coast.

But then there was local artist Gerald Muylle, who finds the artwork plagiarism. He states it is a copy of a smaller piece that he himself designed in 2016. It was displayed in art gallery D’Haudrecy for more than a year, but was never sold. Now Muylle keeps the work in his own home.

The city council of Knokke-Heist, points the finger at the organizer: “We have every confidence in our curator and the artist who designed the tower of beach cabins”, the organizer said. “We do not see how Fourtou could have copied Muylle’s work. The artwork of Muylle is nowhere to be found online and was only exhibited in Knokke-Heist. Fourtou is a Frenchman who lives in Morocco.”

Muylle is certain he has a strong case: “When I saw the work, I was shocked. It is a copy to scale. In the meantime I have taken on a lawyer, because I can not allow someone to fill their pockets with my creation. It’s just a crime.”

© photo: JVE

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Erwin Hauër

“Hope is not a strategy.”



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