Solidarity with Lumbung

A statement on the withdrawal of ruangrupa and the lumbung community from documenta15.


Just over a week before the official end of documenta15, ruangrupa and the lumbung community (the community of participating artists) have withdrawn from the exhibition. This withdrawal is a reaction to the many accusations of antisemitism directed at the exhibition, aimed at undermining the exhibition’s powerful practice of solidarity and support of anti-colonial struggles around the world, including the one in Palestine. The direct cause was a press release issued by the scientific advisory panel, appointed by the Supervisory Board of Documenta gGmbH in August 2022 to investigate the accusations of antisemitism. Ruangrupa and the lumbung community write:

We are angry, we are sad, we are tired, we are united. We have tried our best to stay above the chaos, hostility, racism and censorship that have engulfed this edition of documenta. We have tried our best to stay focused and committed to our work and the promises and hopes of the lumbung. We have been resilient and in solidarity with our communities, friends, supporters, hosts and guests. […] Actors with a coordinated agenda have been determined to find any indication of pre-assumed “guilt,” twisting any critical detail into a simplistic anti-Semitic reading and repeating the same accusation again and again until it became accepted as fact. It is obvious to us that the same mechanism of passing the ball from cyberbullies and racist bloggers to mainstream media outlets to racist attackers on the ground to politicians and even to academics is being reproduced in each situation.’ Read the entire statement here.

Witnessing ruangrupa and the lumbung community under continuous pressure and bullying for engaging in a radical experiment has been a sad and frustrating experience. Platform BK stands in solidarity with ruangrupa and the lumbung community. We support their defiance of the documenta organization and intend to contribute to the continuous building on the lumbung as much as we can.

Much-needed discussions of what happened to documenta15 will take place at Framer Framed and Akademie van Kunsten on the 23rd and 24th of September during the conference (un)Common Grounds: Reflecting on documenta fifteen. These discussions and ways to act upon them will also be given a place at the Platform BK Solidarity Camp on 22-24 September.

We’d like to close this statement with a hopeful citation from ruangrupa and the lumbung community: ‘The openness and the inclusivity of the lumbung is how we imagine our world to be. It is not a mere practice for documenta fifteen; it is a model we have been practicing before we gathered here and which we will continue to practice as a way to be in solidarity, a way to be inclusive, a way for thinking, sharing, documenting, a way to fight, a way for resilience.’

About Sepp Eckenhaussen

Sepp Eckenhaussen is a researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures. From 2020 until 2023, he and Koen Bartijn were the core team of Platform BK.