Sweden's Lund art gallery has displayed a painting which the artist claims was created using ashes from a former Nazi concentration camp.

The ashes were allegedly stolen by artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff from the Majdanek camp in Poland in 1989 after the site had become a museum, reports the BBC.

The Majdanek museum called the theft an "unimaginable act".

majdanek

Around 80,000 people are thought to have died at Majdanek

In a statement the museum said: "We are deeply shocked and outraged by the information that the painting allegedly was made with the ashes of Majdanek victims.

"This action is an artistic provocation deserving only to be condemned."

According to the Jerusalem Post, Salomon Schulman, a prominent member of Sweden's Jewish community said he found the display “disgusting” and "a desecration of Jewish bodies."

The art gallery's owner has defended the decision to display the work saying the piece has "no moral flaws".

Von Hausswolff used the ashes mixed with water to create the piece.

The Lund's website describes how he waited years before using the ashes as "the material was too heavily loaded with the atrocities that had taken place at the site".