Court acquits art director

The director of «Outlook,» Christos Ioakimidis, has beaten controversial charges brought against him for including an allegedly indecent work by Belgian artist Thierry de Cordier in the exhibition in 2004. An Athens misdemeanors court acquitted Ioakimidis on Wednesday, in a decision that defends artistic freedom in Greece and sets a useful precedent. Ioakimidis faced two charges after the «Outlook» exhibition. The first questioned whether the work concerned – which depicted a penis and a crucifix – could be considered a work of art. The Greek Constitution exempts works of art from legal prohibitions on indecency. The second charge was related to whether he intended to offend religious feeling and insult the Greek Orthodox Church. Commenting on the ruling, court president Maria Archontaki said: «Regardless of whether it is a work of art or not, regardless of the fact that a section of public opinion found it offensive, the accused had no intention of offending public feelings, as was apparent from his consenting to removing the work from the exhibition.» «I feel relieved and vindicated by the court’s decision,» Ioakimidis told Kathimerini. «My opinion is that no matter how provocative or incredibly upsetting a work of art may be – subjectively – to some people, it has a reason to exist in the expression of human creative imagination and free thought.»