News | 29.08.2018

Response: Removal of the Erdogan Statue

“A golden statue of Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the site of intensive discussion on 28 August 2018 – by Germans, Turks, Kurds, admirers and vehement critics of the Turkish head of state, both young and old. This type of discussion is currently not possible in Turkey, because Erdogan’s critics are threatened with persecution, and free press and artistic expression hardly exist in the country.
In Germany, this is possible – and necessary.
Although emotions certainly ran high, the day was a peaceful one.  However, based on information that a large protest group was making its way to Wiesbaden, the city decided to remove the statue as of 22:00 yesterday, 29 August, and to no longer display it at the Platz der Deutschen Einheit for the remainder of the Wiesbaden Biennale (until 2 September 2018).”

Uwe Eric Laufenberg, Intendant, Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden

“Following a day of lively discussion and intensive controversy at the Platz der Deutschen Einheit, we as the curator team of the Wiesbaden Biennale are surprised by the removal of the statue. Yesterday, we welcomed the City of Wiesbaden’s clear commitment to artistic freedom.
We do not call into question the competence and expert assessments of our public and municipal security forces in matters of public security. However, the appropriation and protection of public spaces through political art should enjoy equal attention.
The City cited the high cost of necessary security personnel at the site. At the same time, we resolutely question the price and freedom of art. And additionally, what are we prepared to spend on events and occasions such as the planned state visit of the Turkish president – who will be received with military honours – or the price of any Sunday afternoon football match?”

Maria Magdalena Ludewig and Martin Hammer, Curators of the Wiesbaden Biennale