Antisemitic works of art were displayed at the opening of the Documenta 15 exhibition in Kassel, making it abundantly clear that concerns around it had been justified.
In particular, a large-scale banner by the Indonesian artists’ collective “Taring Padi” has caused outrage.The banner, reminiscent of a battle painting, includes a figure whose clothing and facial features resemble antisemitic caricatures. On the figure’s black hat, the runic lettering “SS” can be read.
Images published on Twitter show also another figure with a pig’s snout, which has the lettering “Mossad” on its helmet and a Star of David on its chest.
At the documenta location WH22, the Palestinian group “The Question of Funding” is also showing Mohammed Al Hawajri’s series “Guernica Gaza,” which combines images of attacks by the Israeli army with classical motifs by Millet, Delacroix, Chagall or van Gogh.
The title establishes a link with Pablo Picasso’s painting “Guernica” – created in 1937 in response to the destruction of the Spanish city of Guernica by an air raid by Nazi Germany’s “Condor Legion.”
The 15th edition of Documenta has been overshadowed by massive accusations of antisemitism. Most of the headlines so far have been made by the scandal surrounding the accusation, which has not been sufficiently refuted, that some of the participants and the Indonesian artists’ collective “ruangrupa”, which is responsible for the curatorial work, are close to the antisemitic Israel boycott movement BDS. Jewish artists from Israel are absent from Documenta – in keeping with the actions and goals of the antisemitic BDS movement.