statement in regards to documenta fifteen

July 23 2022, 4pm


Following the statement by our friends and colleagues from ruangrupa today, we want to add a few lines from our perspective as artists in this process.

ZK/U strongly condemns all kinds of anti-semitism, also the anti-semitism depicted in Taring Padi’s People’s Justice. We don’t just reject these depictions because of our specific german history, but because anti-semitism in general is to be rejected and actively counteracted, wherever, whenever. 
We also reject the generalized allegations made against the artists and curatorial team of documenta fifteen. During the last 3 years of preparation towards documenta fifteen, we as ZK/U Berlin could not witness any space for racism, discrimination or anti-semitism.

Rather we’ve heard a multiplicity of stories from people in difficult political situations, we’ve listened to the stories of our colleagues. In none of these conversations the red lines from political criticism to unjust rejection or defamation of people on the basis of their origins were crossed. There was never any space for racism or anti-semitism.
We’ve been following the recent coverage of the incident and we are worried to see the doors for discussion gradually closing, the willingness to listen seems to shrink from day to day. We admire the thoughtful voices, such as from Meron Mendel, that despite this painful incident, promote a differentiated view onto the discussion and still speak out for dialogue and mutual understanding.

Mutual understanding starts with listening and with granting space for conversation. Unfortunately this space has not been explored yet and we believe that this dialogue needs to happen urgently, openly and honestly.
It might have to start in spaces, where the complexities can calmly and trustfully be explained, blind spots can be discovered and learning processes have the opportunity to unfold.