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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/01/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) First, he stuffed Spanish dictator Francisco Franco into a fridge. Now, he has transformed Franco’s head into a punching ball

Not surprisingly, 36-year-old Spanish artist Eugenio Merino’s headline-grabbing works have won few fans among the late dictator’s admirers

Indeed, the National Francisco Franco Foundation, which sued unsuccessfully over Merino’s earlier Franco-in-a-fridge sculpture, is taking him back to a court in Madrid in outrage over his latest work, “Punching Franco.&rdquo

The punching ball is a silicone representation of Franco’s head, complete with dark sunglasses missing a lens. The head sits on top of a tall stand with a heavy base and a spring

“Punching Franco” is now owned by a photographer but has returned to the artist’s studio for repairs after its new owner’s parrot nibbled away at the general’s ears and nose

“For people who were repressed or never won justice, it is a way to unburden themselves, a kind of catharsis,” Merino told AFP

But the Franco Foundation, created in 1976, a year after Franco’s death, to defend his legacy, does not see it in the same way

Led by Franco’s only child, the 87-year-old Maria del Carmen Franco y Polo, the foundation filed suit last month seeking 12,000 euros (16,000) in damages, plus legal costs, and a declaration that its honor has been hurt by the “grotesque and offensive” sculpture

“It is in bad taste because that could be his father or mine, placed in such a way as to say: ‘Break his nose, punch his head’,” complained the foundation’s deputy president, Jaime Alonso

“It is low, and vulgar, and unworthy of civilization and a supposed sculptor,” he told AFP

The artist’s lawyers say he is being harassed by the Franco Foundation’s lawsuits. The Madrid court rejected in July an earlier Franco Foundation lawsuit against Merino’s “Always Franco,” a sculpture of Franco in green uniform and dark sunglasses with his knees bent inside a Coca-Cola-style fridge with a glass door.


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