On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) IV

How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist
[The usefulness of continuous measurement of the distance between Nostalgia and Melancholia]
(September 2021 - February 2023)
A critical project concerning post-war artist Joseph Beuys
Created by Joseph Sassoon Semah, curator Linda Bouws
© Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten

29 January - 29 May 2022
exhibition Boris Lurie & Wolf Vostell: Kunst na Auschwitz.

Another post-war West-German artist who fabricated his own biography is Wolf Vostell (1932-1998). Wolf Vostell also pretended to be different. He embodied the victim and claimed to incorporate the German guilt, into the vacuum that the genocide left behind. Wolf Vostell suggested since the early 1950's that his mother was a Sephardic Jew. Joseph Beuys met Wolf Vostell in 1962. On 20 July 1964 Vostell and Beuys participated in the Festival der Neuen Kunst in a highly controversial festival of performances created by the Fluxus movement, in which Joseph Beuys gave the Nazi salute. Joseph Beuys' performance ended in a fight with a student and a police crackdown. Partly as a result of this sensational performance and the collaboration between Vostell and Beuys, Joseph Sassoon Semah made a series of five drawings (one of which depicts Joseph Beuys giving the Hitler salute with his right hand) HeSTeR PaNIM HIDDEN FACE (2021) and he wrote the text entitled Hidden Face, commissioned by Kunstmuseum Den Haag for the exhibition catalog of Boris Lurie & Wolf Vostell: Art after Auschwitz (29 January - 29 May 2022).
Ultimately, the contribution of Joseph Sassoon Semah, which has been positively received by the curators of the exhibition, was not included in the catalogue. During the exhibition at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Vostell's dressing up as an Orthodox Jew was only briefly referred to:
"Supposing that his mother was Jewish, Vostell began to wear traditional Eastern European Hasidic clothing to confront the German public with the absence of German Jews in post-war society, which had caused the Shoah." (Kunstmuseum wall text)
A month prior to the closing of the exhibition at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, a drawing made by Sassoon Semah from the serie was placed next to Vostell's artwork, accompanied by a QR CODE with the text Hidden Face. In his text Hidden Face, Joseph Sassoon Semah refers to his meeting in the early 1980s with Wolf Vostell, hands full of rings, and a ball walking stick - by their mutual friend Buddy Elias. They spoke for a while about the mist of Dé-coll/age, the function of FLUXUS, and consequently, they discussed the sacred memory of ShOAH.

Kunstmuseum Den Haag and its German partners did not dare to inquire about Wolf's 'fabricated' autobiography'; the contribution by Joseph Sasson Semah is not part of the exhibition and the exhibition catalogue and therefore does not exist. Only one image from Joseph Sassoon Semah's five-part series on Vostell and Beuys and the text Hidden Face, which he wrote at the request of the museum, were placed in the exhibition 'Boris Lurie & Wolf Vostell: Art after Auschwitz. The five drawings of Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys were exhibited in the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen in the first intervention (1 April-May 2022)

Metropool International Art Projects
Contact: Linda Bouws
Mob +31(0) 620132195