Statement by Dr. Sabine Schormann on the deinstallment of the banner “People’s Justice” by Taring Padi

Together with ruangrupa, the Artistic Team and the participating artists, we have assured that there will be no antisemitic content at documenta fifteen. Otherwise we would intervene immediately. Unfortunately, we did not keep this promise. This should not have happened.

When the antisemitic imagery on the People’s Justice banner by Taring Padi was discovered, I immediately sought discussion with everyone involved. Together, as a first measure, we made the decision to cover up the painting and to provide an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work in Indonesia. I would like to emphasize once again that all those involved were and are deeply sorry for having crossed boundaries and hurt feelings. We also explicitly apologize for the fact that the antisemitic depictions were not recognized before the work was installed.

This morning, the Supervisory Board reassured me that the appropriate next step would be to take down the painting. Antisemitic depictions must have no place in Germany, not even in an art show with a global scope. This also applies expressly with all understanding for the concerns of the global south and the visual language used there. With respect for the diversity of cultural backgrounds, the dialogue that began with documenta fifteen will be continued.

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