documenta dismantles controversial artwork

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After severe criticism, documenta fifteen dismantled a work of art with anti-Semitic motifs. Now the dispute revolves around the future of the world art show.

Taring Padi's controversial work at documenta fifteen has disappeared

The installation “People's Justice” by the Indonesian artists' collective Taring Padi hung on a scaffolding on the central Friedrichsplatz for just three days before the banner's anti-Semitic imagery was noticed and publicly sharply criticized. Demands for consequences grew louder and louder. On Tuesday evening, the artists finally dismantled their work after it had been wrapped.

The colorful cardboard cutouts at the foot of the banner, which were created in countless Taring Padi workshops with hundreds of participants, were also removed. Around 100 people watched the event. There were whistles and boos. Others applauded. Only the scaffolding for the artwork still stands on the empty space between the Museum Fridericianum and the documenta hall.

A member of the Indonesian artist collective Taring Padi takes down the controversial banner

Among other things, the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” support group had requested the dismantling. The chairman of the support group, Lea Rosh, spoke of “anti-Semitism with a long message” in relation to the documenta. Previously, the Minister of State for Culture, Claudia Roth, and the Hessian Minister of State for the Arts, Angela Dorn, had demanded the removal of the mural by Taring Padi and called on those responsible for the documenta to take action p>He and the city felt ashamed by the anti-Semitic motives, said Kassel's Lord Mayor Christian Geselle, who spoke of immense damage to Kassel. Despite their confessions, the artistic direction of documenta fifteen “failed to fulfill their responsibility to ensure that there is no room for anti-Semitism, racism or any kind of discrimination”.

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Anti-Semitic imagery causes trouble at the documenta

The curating collective Ruangrupa had been accused of anti-Semitism for months. But the curators assured that anti-Semitism, racism or violence had no place at documenta.

How things will continue with and at the documenta is open. The calls for a reappraisal of the scandal are getting louder and louder. Minister of State for Culture Roth described the dismantling of the Taring Padi plant “only as a first step”. She would like to know why the controversial work could be hung so shortly before the opening without its anti-Semitic imagery being recognized. The German Cultural Council declared that documenta fifteen was “hanging by a thread”. The association called for a “broad public debate”. of the Taring Padi banner, a spectator held up an Israeli flag

The International Auschwitz Committee called for dialogue with the artists. “It's high time to start a conversation at this documenta, to hear the artists from which world view these pictures were created and to explain publicly on the part of the documenta why these pictures are met with resistance and rejection here,” explained Christoph Heubner , the Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee.

sd/pg (dpa/epd/kna)