Curators call recently criticized Documenta images "clearly not anti-Semitic"

In the anti-Semitism debate surrounding Documenta fifteen in Kassel, the Indonesian curator collective Ruangrupa has rejected the most recent allegations.

Curators call recently criticized Documenta images "clearly not anti-Semitic"

In the anti-Semitism debate surrounding Documenta fifteen in Kassel, the Indonesian curator collective Ruangrupa has rejected the most recent allegations. "The images in the Presence des Femmes brochure are clearly not anti-Semitic," Ruangrupa and the artistic team said in a statement on Wednesday. The collective spoke of a "misinterpretation".

Last week, the research and information center for anti-Semitism in Hesse focused on the brochure that was published in Algiers in 1988 and is now being exhibited at the Weltkunstschau. Depictions in it were criticized as anti-Semitic. The drawings by the Syrian artist Burhan Karkoutly contained therein show, for example, soldiers with Star of David on their helmets as robots with bared teeth.

"All cartoons have a specific story," Ruangrupa said. They represented the propaganda art of the time and the Palestinians' attitude towards the military occupation. "None of the pictures show people of the Jewish faith in an abstract way." They are depictions of Israeli soldiers with a clear reference to the Israeli flag. "The Star of David on the helmets of soldiers is the symbol of the State of Israel and the Israeli Army, there is no ambiguity here."

Anti-Semitism allegations against the Documenta have been circulating for months. In January, the first voices were raised accusing the curator collective Ruangrupa and some invited artists of being close to the anti-Israel boycott movement BDS. Shortly after the opening of the exhibition in mid-June, a banner with anti-Jewish motifs was discovered and taken down.

In order to work up the scandal, the show will be accompanied by seven scientists in the coming months.

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