German art exhibition curators apologize for anti-Semitic work | entertainment news

BERLIN (AP) — Curators at a major art exhibition in Germany have apologized for including work with anti-Semitic elements that sparked outrage at the event’s opening this week.

Organizers of the show Documenta Fifteen in Kassel ordered the Indonesian collective Taring Padi to take down the banner titled “People’s Justice” on Tuesday after widespread criticism from Jewish groups as well as German and Israeli officials.

The installation depicted a pig-faced soldier wearing a neckerchief with a Star of David and a helmet with the inscription “Mossad” – the name of the Israeli intelligence service.

Taring Padi has insisted that the work, which he says was first exhibited at the South Australian Arts Festival in Adelaide 20 years ago, is “in no way connected” with anti-Semitism, but instead refers to the post-1965 Indonesian dictatorship. .

“We regret that the details of this banner are misunderstood other than their original purpose. We apologize for the injuries caused in this context, ”the message says.

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But in a statement posted on the exhibition’s website late Thursday night, a colleague from the Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa, who curated the exhibition, said the curators “collectively failed to locate a figure in the work that is a character that evokes classic stereotypes of anti-Semitism.”

“We acknowledge that this was our mistake,” the post reads, adding that the decision to remove the installation was made after consultation with the artists.

“We apologize for the disappointment, shame, disappointment, betrayal and shock this stereotype has caused to viewers and the entire team that has worked diligently with us to make Document Fifteen a reality,” the group said in a statement.

He acknowledged that the incident followed months of debate about alleged anti-Semitism, which he and the show’s organizers vehemently dismissed.

The German president raised the issue during his opening speech on Sunday, saying there are “limitations” on what artists can do when addressing political issues in a country that is still redeeming the Holocaust. His comments came before the Taring Padi banner was unveiled.

“These images, as we now fully understand, are inextricably linked to the most horrific episode in German history, when Jews were persecuted and killed on an unprecedented scale,” Ruangrupa said in a statement.

“This is shocking not only, but specifically to the Jewish community in Kassel and throughout Germany, which we consider our allies and who still lives with the trauma of the past and the continued presence of discrimination, prejudice and marginalization. the group said. “It is also a shock to our friends, neighbors and colleagues, for whom the fight against all forms of oppression and racism is an existential element of their political, social and artistic vision.”

“We take this opportunity to learn more about the gruesome history and present of anti-Semitism and are appalled that this figure has made it into the work in question,” the post reads.

Many of Documenta’s exhibits focus on colonialism from a global South perspective.

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