Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Berlin gallery closes Danish group's exhibition after threats over poster

Berlin gallery closes Danish group's exhibition after threats over poster

A Berlin gallery has temporarily shut an exhibition by a Danish satirical duo after a group of young men threatened violence over a poster showing Islam's most revered shrine, an official said Friday.
The poster depicting the Kaaba in Mecca was one of 22 by the Surrend group that went on show Feb. 22 at the German capital's Galerie Nord.
On Tuesday afternoon, a group of six young men came into the gallery and demanded the poster's removal, and said that "if that did not happen, violence would be triggered, stones would fly and there would be big trouble," said Ralf Hartmann, the art director of Kunstverein Tiergarten, the group responsible for the gallery.
The men were believed to be Muslims, but "we don't know more," Hartmann said. Police were looking into the matter, he added.
Gallery officials decided to shut the exhibition until they have worked with city officials to guarantee visitors' security, Hartmann said. He said he hoped the show could reopen next Tuesday.
Surrend consists of artists Jan Egesborg and Pia Bertelsen. They are known for their stickers mocking political leaders and other figures around the world, ranging from Polish President Lech Kaczynski to Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic.
Egesborg told The Associated Press that the incident was "one of the first times that an art exhibition in a big gallery has been censored by the mob in the streets."
The Berlin exhibition, titled "ZOG _ Surrend," aims to attack neo-Nazi propaganda and an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory named ZOG _ short for "Zionist Occupied Government."
Brief footage of the exhibition shown on Danish television included a shot of the Kaaba poster, which featured the German words "Dummer Stein," or "stupid stone."
Hartmann said the poster also showed people walking around the cube-shaped Kaaba shrine under speech bubbles containing the ZOG slogan.
Egesborg said by telephone from Denmark that the poster was one of four that poked fun at neo-Nazi conspiracy theories that Jews control the world. "That theory also lives in the Arab world," he said.
The local government in Berlin's Mitte district said in a statement that authorities are examining "possible dangers" and working on a security concept in hopes of allowing the exhibition to reopen as soon as possible.
In Denmark, lawmaker Henriette Kjaer of the governing Conservative Party responded to the flap by saying that "Muslims must accept that we have freedom of speech in Denmark and in the rest of the western world."
"The Muslims who live in Europe must accept that we cannot censor neither drawings in a newspaper, art exhibitions, a play or whatever it may be," she said.
____
Associated Press writers Matt Moore and Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-06-16 06:56 GMT+08:00