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Steinmeier criticized the documenta for the lack of Israeli artists News from Germany about Germany DW

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At the opening of the exhibition of contemporary art documenta on Saturday, June 18, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized its organizers and curators for the lack of works by Israeli artists.

“It is striking that this important exhibition of contemporary art does not seem to feature Israeli artists at all,” he said in a speech in Kassel. refuse to participate in events, conferences or festivals attended by representatives of the Jewish population of Israel. “

“A democratic society cannot be pushed by artists or use them for its own ends,” Steinmeier said. “Art is allowed to be offensive, it should provoke debate,” he continued. “Criticism of Israeli policy is also allowed. But where criticism of Israel calls into question its right to exist, the line is crossed.”

According to Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a boycott of Israel is tantamount to denying the state the right to exist. “As President of Germany, I guarantee in relation to my country: the basis and precondition for discussions is the recognition of Israel,” he said.

Accusations of anti-Semitism at the documenta exhibition

The exhibition of contemporary art documenta is held every five years. In 2022, for the first time in its history, the exhibition was curated by representatives of the Asian region – the Indonesian band Ruangrupa. As the organizers of the exhibition invited artists who support the cultural boycott of Israel and did not supplement the program with works by Israeli artists, they faced accusations of anti-Semitism. However, the exhibition’s management rejected these accusations, emphasizing that they were misunderstood.

Problems of the global South

Another topic Steinmeier addressed at the opening of the exhibition was the need for politicians and society to work more intensively on issues that drive people in the southern region: “A long colonial history of tyranny and exploitation and countless white spots of revaluation. with looted cultural property. “

The dramatic effects of climate change with extreme weather conditions, droughts, food shortages and hunger, which are already being felt today, also require a more decisive solution, said the German president.

The exhibition of contemporary art documenta will last 100 days – until September 25. It will be attended by 1,500 artists from around the world.

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