Documenta boss rejects resignation – culture

Documenta boss rejects resignation - culture

The Director General of Documenta Fifteen, Sabine Schormann, does not want to resign despite increasing pressure because of the anti-Semitism scandal. “I take my job as it was given to me seriously and still believe in this documenta,” said Schormann on Thursday in Kassel. Ultimately, however, the decision lies in the hands of the responsible persons and committees. “In a situation like this, nothing can be ruled out.”

First of all, however, it must be a matter of working through the processes and “getting the ship back on course,” says Schormann. “And when the sea is heavy, a captain doesn’t disembark. That’s how I see my role at this point, I’m responsible for organizing the exhibition and have initiated further measures.” So she asked the curator collective Ruangrupa for a statement. This followed in the evening: Ruangrupa apologized. “We all failed to discover the anti-Semitic figures in the work,” the collective wrote on the Documenta website. “It’s our fault. We apologize for the disappointment, shame, frustration, betrayal and shock we have caused to viewers.”

According to Schormann, it is not the management’s job to check the works of art in advance

On Tuesday, a work of art by the Indonesian collective Taring Padi, classified as anti-Semitic, was dismantled after a few days at the Documenta. Previously, there had been anti-Semitism allegations against Ruangrupa for months. Schormann emphasized again that it is not the task of the management to check and approve the works in advance: “That is the core task of the artistic direction.” In view of the wealth of material, Ruangrupa “unfortunately was not able to look at every picture with a magnifying glass, although this was in view of the sensitive subject anti-Semitism As the responsible managing director, she too was shocked that, despite all the assurances in advance, this “horrible mistake” had occurred.

Schormann also emphasized again that the events would be processed and that there would now be a “precise and careful” examination of the other works for critical content, also with the help of external experts. She also reiterated the desire of all those responsible for an open and constructive dialogue on racism and anti-Semitism. She had previously announced a series of talks on this. There should also be a “meeting point” at Friedrichsplatz in Kassel – with the Anne Frank educational center and other civil society actors. The work was set up on Friedrichsplatz before it was wrapped up and finally dismantled on Tuesday.

Schormann commented on the plan by Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth to give the federal government more influence on the Documenta in the future: “In any case, it is good for an exhibition that has global aspirations if the supervisory bodies also have the relevant national expertise.” Whether this is carried out by the federal government or other experts is of secondary importance. “But support from this side is certainly positive.”

Roth had also emphasized that the responsibilities between the management and the curators as well as the chairman of the supervisory board and the committees had to be clearly clarified. “The responsibilities are clear,” said Schormann. “Nevertheless, we now have to work out in detail with Ruangrupa how it could happen that agreements and tasks, which are also contractually defined between the artistic direction and the management, were not complied with.”

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