Entertainment: Battle of symbols around a work exploring the anti -Semitic past of Vienna

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Une commande artistique, édifiée autour du monument à la gloire du maire Karl Lueger ne convainc pas tous les Viennois. © AFP/Alex Halada An artistic command, built around the monument to the glory of Mayor Karl Lueger does not convince all Viennese.

In October 2020, a collective of Viennese artists inscribed the word "shame" on the base of the monument dedicated to Karl Lueger (1844-1910), anti-Semitic mayor admired by Adolf Hitler , which has been throne for almost a century on The ringstrasse, the equivalent of the great boulevards in Vienna. Under the pressure of the Viennese, for whom this indirect recall to the national socialist ideology does not pass, the town hall of Vienna entrusted two Austrian artists an intervention on the site: it is a question of building a wooden structure, to the bright colors and a fragile aspect which contrasts with this massive statue.

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This attempt at " art which hides shame ", inaugurated in October, is however unanimous in the Austrian capital, notably with the Union of Jewish students of Austria. One of its representatives, Victoria Borochov, estimated that "A Vec these colors and this disproportionate size, we absolutely do not see that this installation is supposed to deal with anti -Semitism. "" Only " a small text on a concrete base " specifies this intention, she notes.

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The deputy mayor in charge of culture Veronica Kaup -Hasler defends the position of the city. “ The objective of this work was not to be specifically a sculpture against anti -Semitism but to open a space for discussion. Works of art invite you to think in a complex and paradoxical way. Art never provides a simple response, "she said.

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Ephémère, this" Artistic frame "must give way to a new work in a year. The opportunity, for the town hall and the artists, to get out more clearly from the historical ambiguity which surrounds Karl Lueger. Very inspired by Baron Haussmann, the mayor had transformed Vienna at the turn of the 20th century to make it the capital that we know. But his anti -Semitic positions also earned him to be cited as an example by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf . To the point that the historian Florian Wenninger, of the University of Vienna, believes that he is one of the sources of inspiration for national-socialist ideology.

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