German documenta art show panel: Palestinian films are problematic

1 min read
Credit line: UWE ZUCCHI / AFP / Profimedia

A panel of experts set up to deal with the handling of anti-Semitism at Germany’s documenta art exhibition has urged organizers to stop showing films they call pro-Palestinian propaganda.

The panel said documenta fifteen must stop screening a compilation of historic pro-Palestinian films compiled by the Subversive Film collective which include contemporary artists’ comments.

The work – featuring film material from the 1960s to the 1980s – has been deemed “highly problematic.”

The experts said that the artists’ comments include strong anti-Israeli feeling and veer into the “glorification of terrorism,” while the material as a whole is presented as a supposedly objective report.

In they are to be shown again, the films would need to be placed in context and the provenance of the original material as propaganda would need to be explained, the expert panel added.

This year’s edition of documenta, an expansive international art exhibition staged in Kassel only once every five years, has been dogged by allegations of showcasing anti-Semitic art. Since the exhibition opened in June, several anti-Semitic works have caused controversy.

In a second statement issued on Monday, part of the advisory board accused the Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa – which curated documenta fifteen – of “curatorial imbalance.”

Almost all works that deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict expressed “one-sidedly critical to decidedly anti-Israel attitudes,” according to the statement, which was signed by five of the seven members of the expert advisory panel.

The former head of documenta, Sabine Schormann, resigned in mid-July due to the allegations of anti-Semitism. © dpa

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