BERLIN – The curators of a major art show in Germany apologized for shooting a work with anti-Semitic elements, which provoked outrage this week at the start of the event.
The organizers of the fifteen documentary performances in Kassel ordered that the flag of the Indonesian collective Taring Padi entitled “Justice for the People” be removed on Tuesday after extensive criticism by Jewish groups and German and Israeli officials.
The installation showed a soldier with a pig’s face, a scarf with the Star of David and a helmet with the inscription “Mossad”, which is the name of an Israeli intelligence agency.
Taring Padi insisted that the work – first shown at the South Australian Art Festival in Adelaide 20 years ago – had “nothing to do” with anti-Semitism, but was directed against Indonesia’s dictatorship after 1965.
“We are sorry that the details of this flag are not understood differently than their original purpose. We apologize for the damage caused in this connection, “it is stated in the statement.
But in a statement posted on the show’s website on Thursday, Indonesian art group Ruangrupa, which is organizing the exhibition, said the curators “together failed to find a number of works that are a character that defies classic stereotypes of anti-Semitism. ”
“We acknowledge that it is our fault,” he said, adding that the decision to remove the installation was made in consultation with the artists.
“We apologize for the disappointment, embarrassment, disappointment, betrayal and shock that this stereotype caused to the audience and the entire team that worked so hard with us to make Fifteen a reality,” the group said.
She admitted that the incident followed months of debates about alleged anti-Semitism, which she and the show’s organizers strongly rejected.
The German president raised the issue during his inaugural speech at the parade on Sunday, saying there was a “limit” on what artists could do when discussing political issues in a country that still pays for the Holocaust. His remarks were made before the Taring Padi banner was revealed.
“These images, as we now fully understand, are seamlessly linked to the most terrifying period in German history, when Jews were deliberately murdered to an unusual extent,” Ruangrupa said in a statement.
“It is shocking not only for the Jewish community in Kassel and throughout Germany that we consider our allies and still live under the trauma of the past and the continuing presence of discrimination, prejudice and segregation,” the group said. “It is also a shock to our friends, neighbors and colleagues that the fight against all forms of oppression and racism is an integral part of their political, social and artistic background.”
“We took this opportunity to learn more about the terrifying history and now anti-Semitism, and we were shocked that this character did it,” he said.
Many exhibits of the documentary deal with issues of colonialism from the perspective of the entire southern world.