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Mark Wallinger slashes 25% of his famous painting

picThe government has yet to announce planned spending cuts on the arts, but artists like Mark Wallinger are protesting what is to be expected as a 25 per cent cut.  Wallinger, who is a Turner Prize winner, has taken one of Turner’s most prized paintings and depicted it with the heart cut out and a caption that reads 25 per cent cut.

Top British artists have banned together to release a new protest piece every week until the government announces the spending plans.  In his adaptation of The Fighting Temeraire, Wallinger has removed 25 per cent of the painting to illustrate what a cut that size could mean to the arts.

The painting depicts the gun ship Temeraire, which played an important part in the Battle of Trafalgar, being towed off to be broken up after it was decommissioned from the Navy in 1838.  The piece was a favourite of Turner’s and one that he never sold, but finally donated to the National Gallery.

Temeraire means reckless in French and Wallinger says that his depiction, with the decommissioned ship cut from the painting, in effect renders it “wreckless.”  His point being that a 25 per cent cut in the painting would remove the subject entirely.  This is symbolic of what many artists feel a 25 per cent cut to the arts programme would do.

Many people have joined in signing an arts petition that asks Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to consider that it has taken 50 years to build the arts in Britain.  It asks him to consider that Britain’s arts are the envy of the world and not to risk putting that in jeopardy with these proposed cuts.

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