Work removed from Glasgow International

April 3, 2008

With just one week to go until the opening of Gi (Glasgow International, April 11 – 27) a work by one of its most celebrated participants has been rejected from the exhibition, reports the BBC.

Don’t Trust Me,a film by Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, shows scenes of animals being slaughtered with sledge hammers, which the artists says is a routine procedure in food production in Mexico. However, the work has come under attack from animal rights protesters, and only last week it had to be removed from the San Francisco Art Institue following death threats to gallery staff. For fear of similar threats, the decision has been taken to remove the work from the Glasgow exhibition, however Abdessemed will have other works in the show.

Gi curator Francis McKee commented, “It’s not meant to be sensational, the other work isn’t particularly sensational in that sense […] If it’s taken out of context then it’s very easy to make it sound as if it is, whereas he’s actually documenting something and trying to talk about very deep issues.”

William Sasnal, also exhibiting in Gi, focuses on the distressing and sensitive subject of the murder of Polish student Angelika Kluk, whose body was found under the floor of a church in Glasgow. Entitled The Other Church, the film shows a naked female singer of a punk band performing a song about Angelika. The work was commissioned by Gi festival and has been described as an “elegy.”

McKee commented that Sasnal’s short 16mm film “represents the vulnerability of Angelika Kluk as a young immigrant finding herself in a predatory situation […] Sasnal emphasizes her trusting and open nature and implies that others took advantage of her basic honesty.”

McKee’s comments were countered by Canon Robert Hill, who became the priest of St Patrick’s church, the site where Angelika’s body was found, when it re-opened last August: “My first reaction is to wonder how helpful this will be for this community to move forward, or for Angelika’s family. I doubt it will be helpful at all.” The work, however, remains in the show.

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