Cleaner throws out 'rubbish' Sala Murat artwork

Mediating Landscape exhibition Curators Flip Project Space deny the binned artworks were made of cardboard and newspaper

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A cleaner has mistakenly thrown away contemporary artworks meant to be part of an exhibition in southern Italy.

Works made out of newspaper and cardboard, and cookie pieces scattered across the floor as part of Sala Murat's display were thrown out.

Lorenzo Roca, from cleaning firm Chiarissima, said the unnamed cleaner was "just doing her job".

He added his firm's insurance would cover the value of the art, estimated to be around 10,000 euros (£8,200).

According to local press, security noticed a number of items were missing when the venue, in the province of Bari, opened on Wednesday morning.

It later emerged the cleaner had handed them over to refuse collectors, thinking it was rubbish left behind by workers who set up the Mediating Landscape exhibition.

"We are obviously very sorry for what happened," city marketing commissioner Antonio Maria Vasile said.

"It's clear the cleaning person did not realise she had thrown away two works and their value. But this is all about the artists who have been able to better interpret the meaning of contemporary art, which is to interact with the environment.

"In any case, the insurance will cover the damages caused."

It is not the first time artwork has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.

In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery consisting of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was cleared away.

Later, in 2004, a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was also thrown out while on a display at Tate Britain.

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