documenta scandal comes to a head


After the argument about a work with anti-Semitic motifs at the documenta, the demands for his resignation increased. Chancellor Scholz wants to avoid the World Art Show.

< p>The controversial work by Taring Padi at documenta fifteen has disappeared

A day after the documenta had a controversial work by the Indonesian collective Taring Padi removed because of anti-Semitic elements, the calls for consequences are getting louder. The “Jüdische Allgemeine”, which is published by the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called on Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) to resign from office. The new President of the German-Israeli Society (DIG), Volker Beck, called for the resignation of documenta Director General Sabine Schormann. The members of the documenta control committee headed by the mayor of Kassel, Christian Geselle (SPD), should also make their positions available.

Device in need of explanation: Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) told the “Jüdische Allgemeine” that he would not visit the Kunstschau in Kassel this year, even if he “probably didn't miss any documenta in the past 30 years”. According to a spokeswoman, the Chancellor found “the said image in Kassel disgusting and considers it entirely correct and appropriate to remove this poster”. In Germany there is “no place for anti-Semitic depictions, not even at an art exhibition”.

The Taring Padi banner has been taken down

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 Mayor Christian Geselle, who spoke of “immense damage for 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 ensures 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.

Meanwhile, there are new allegations against the documenta. The culture commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Johann Hinrich Claussen, criticized “pro-Palestinian” propaganda films in the documenta fifteen program in Kassel. The films from the 1970s were shown largely without comment and the origin and connection of the films to the left-wing extremist and anti-Semitic terrorist group the Japanese Red Army was not discussed, Claussen told the Evangelical Press Service.

Scene from one of the criticized films to be seen at documenta

Previously, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported about such films. A statement from the documenta is still pending.

How things will continue with and at the documenta is open. More and more voices are calling for the scandal to be dealt with. 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)


This article was published on 22.06. Updated twice in 2022.