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Curators apologise for antisemitic work at German art show

Curators apologise for antisemitic work at German art show

BERLIN: The curators of a major art show in Germany have apologised for including a work featuring antisemitic elements that prompted an outcry at the event’s opening this week.

Organisers of the documenta fifteen show in Kassel ordered the banner by Indonesian collective Taring Padi, titled People’s Justice, to be taken down on Tuesday (Jun 21) following widespread criticism from Jewish groups and German and Israeli officials.

The installation featured a soldier with the face of a pig, wearing a neckerchief with a Star of David and a helmet inscribed with the word “Mossad”, the name of Israel’s intelligence agency.

Taring Padi had insisted that the work – which it said was first exhibited at the South Australia Art Festival in Adelaide 20 years ago – was “in no way related” to antisemitism, but instead referred to the post-1965 dictatorship in Indonesia.

“We are sorry that details of this banner are misunderstood other than their original purpose. We apologise for the injuries caused in this context,” it said.

But in a statement posted on the show’s website late Thursday, fellow Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa, which curated the exhibition, said curators had “collectively failed to spot the figure in the work, which is a character that evokes classical stereotypes of antisemitism”.

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“We acknowledge that this was our error,” it said, adding that the decision to remove the installation had been taken in consultation with the artists.

“We apologise for the disappointment, shame, frustration, betrayal, and shock this stereotype has caused the viewers and the whole team who has worked hard alongside us to make documenta fifteen a reality,” the group said.

It acknowledged that the incident followed months of debate about alleged…

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