There have been protests against a work of art installed at the Berlin Biennale with well-known photos of torture scenes from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In the Rieckhallen of the Museum Hamburger Bahnhof, the French artist Jean-Jacques Lebel used photos taken by US soldiers of humiliation and torture of Iraqi prisoners to create a labyrinth of terror with large-format excerpts that hang on the walls and in the room as canvas-sized prints. Before entering the separate room, which cannot be seen from the outside, visitors are made aware of the gruesome depictions.

The co-curator Rijin Sahakian, who left after the start of the Biennale, opposed the work in an open letter co-signed by 15 artists. It states, among other things, that the Biennale used “photos of illegally detained and brutally treated Iraqi bodies” under the US occupation to exhibit the work. These would be used for commercial purposes without the consent of the victims and without the participation of the Iraqi artists participating in the biennial. Their works were installed next to the controversial work without their knowledge.

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