March 12, 2018

« Libérons le Louvre » denounce museum’s partnership with Total by occupying room with theatrical performance

Contacts: Suzanne K., +33 631 860 401
Clémence Dubois, +33 642 713 175

« Libérons le Louvre » denounce museum’s partnership with Total by occupying room with theatrical performance

PARIS, FRANCE – This morning, art-activist collective ‘Libérons le Louvre’ staged a theatrical performance inside the Louvre museum in Paris, in protest of the museum’s sponsorship deal with oil and gas company Total.

In a choreography of bodies falling to the ground, the 15 artivists drew attention to people around the world whose livelihoods are destroyed and who are being forced to leave their home because of the worsening climate crisis as a result of Total’s operations. Once on the ground, the performers refused to leave the room, which they blocked for more than two hours.

Photo: Romain Nicolas

The action took place in the Salle Mollien of the museum. While some activists fell to the floor in slow motion, others recited a long list of projects run by Total, which harm the climate, the environment and threaten inhabitants in areas of risk, such as:

“Patagonia, Argentina…fracking…Air, water and land polluted…The Mapuche threatened…”“Nigeria…gas flaring…Air and water pollution…Ogba people at risk…clashes …”

Staging this performance in front of the painting The Raft of the Medusa was a deliberate choice: The painting evokes images of displaced people of the 21st century.

“The proposed bill on immigration and asylum is currently being discussed in the French parliament, and so we wanted to highlight the fact that more and more people are being forced into exile, as the effects of climate change increase. It’s easy to identify the principle victims of climate change and we must denounce the principle culprits: fossil fuel multinationals such as Total in France. Our performance is inspired by our duty of solidarity and empathy towards these victims,” explained Suzanne, one of the members of the collective.

“The situation is urgent. This is why we’ve stepped up our action. This time we blocked a room for more than two hours and forced the museum to respond by removing us,” Alejandra, from the Libérons le Louvre collective said. “We will carry on staging performances until the Louvre ends its partnership with Total. It’s totally unacceptable that the museum enables Total to project a veneer of virtue through its sponsorship and investment in arts and culture, while at the same time the company continues to put lives and ecosystems at risk throughout the world. This partnership cannot be reconciled with the museum’s stated public mission and moral responsibility.”

The Louvre’s role is to connect civilisations and cultures, and is a centre for learning. Libérons le Louvre criticise that the museum’s partnership with Total is in complete contradiction with its educational mission to forge links between past civilisations and present and future generations. In order to comply with the red line of 1.5°C, as set out in the Paris Agreement, there can be no new fossil fuel projects. Yet, Total’s largest investment today is in a gas mega-project in the Siberian Arctic. The Arctic is one of the world’s regions most affected by the consequences of climate-altering fossil fuel extraction, reaching a critical point this winter, as temperatures above 0°C were recorded for more than 60 consecutive hours.

On the back of similar art-activism campaigns, several cultural institutions have already severed their links with the fossil fuel industry, such as the Tate Gallery in London, the Edinburgh Festival, and the American Museum of National History. Other prestigious museums around the world are also coming under pressure from artivists, such as the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The Paris-based ‘Libérons le Louvre’ collective is committed to carry on with its actions until the Louvre museum ends its partnership with Total.


Links :
Campaign website (including videos of previous performances):
The report denouncing Total’s climate strategy:
Livestream of the performance :

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