With the restitution of stolen works of art a current-day topic, Gaëlle Bourges turns our attention towards an intra-European case: that of the Acropolis caryatids in Athens, and their missing statue, placed in the collections of the British Museum in London.

Legend says that her five Athenian sisters languish over. At the start of the XIXth century, the Scottish aristocrat Thomas Bruce, better known as Lord Elgin, ordered one of the Acropolis caryatids to be sawn off and sent to London, along with sixty percent of the Parthenon frieze. These stolen treasures from Antiquity are still on display at the British Museum, despite the demands from Greece for them to be returned. With the restoration of works pillaged during the colonial era to the African continent becoming the object of a first law in 2020, OVTR (ON VA TOUT RENDRE) gives life to the lost statue of the Acropolis and invites us to follow its symbolic journey, from Athens to London. With the aid of letters and texts from the time, Gaëlle Bourges examines the intricacies and grey areas of a section of art history which put antique art on a pedestal – but also authorised its appropriation by more powerful countries. This piece prompts us to cast a critical eye on our representations, and implicitly asks the quesion : what if we gave it all back ?