Nytt

Britiske kunstnere som ellers er kjent for sin villighet til å provosere og sjokkere når det gjelder det meste, avholder seg fra å takle islamsk fundamentalisme. Turner-prisvinner og Timesspaltist Grayson Perry sier at han bevisst unnlater å kommentere radikal islam i hans vanligvis svært provokative arbeider av frykt for represalier.

En ledende direktør for britiske gallerier forteller at få aktører innen kunst er interessert i stille ut potensielt provoserende verk.

«I’ve censored myself,» Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. «The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.»

Perry’s highly decorated pots can sell for more than £50,000 and often feature sex, violence and childhood motifs. One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary. «I’m interested in religion and I’ve made a lot of pieces about it,» he said. «With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.»

Skjebnen til Theo van Gogh i 2004 er det mest skremmende eksempelet i Europa på hva som kan skje med en kunstner hvis vedkommende antas å ha fornærmet islam. Perry sier at han også ble skremt av de voldsomme reaksjonene på Muhammed-karikaturene i 2006, og dette årets protester mot adlingen av Salman Rushdie.

Det kommer stadig nye eksempler på at ytringsfriheten i Europa blir innskrenket på grunn av frykt for religiøs fundamentalisme:

Across Europe there is growing evidence that freedom of expression has been curtailed by fear of religious fundamentalism. Robert Redeker, a French philosophy teacher, is in hiding after calling the Koran a «book of extraordinary violence» in Le Figaro in 2006; Spanish villages near Valencia have abandoned a centuries-old tradition of burning effigies of Muhammad to mark the reconquest of Spain, against the Moors; and an opera house in Berlin banned a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo because it depicted the beheading of Muhammad (as well as Jesus and other spiritual leaders).

De mest profilerte eksemplene i Storbritanna stammer også fra teateret; en kampanje ledet av kristenfundamentalister mot Jerry Springer the Opera, og protestene i Birmingham som tvang forestillingen Bezhti – et stykke om voldtekt og mord i et Sikh-tempel – av plakaten.

Ifølge utstillingsdirektør Tim Marlow blir mesteparten av sensuren i kunst-miljøet foretatt av institusjoner, musèer og gallerier:

Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at White Cube, the London gallery, welcomed Perry’s admission. «It’s something that’s there but very few people have explicitly admitted. Institutions, museums and galleries are probably doing most of the censorship. I would be lying if I said of course we would show something like the Danish cartoons. I think there are genuine reasons for concern. Fundamentalism is a really complex issue and one of the things artists can do is to help us through that complexity. Whether or not it’s their responsibility to do that I’m not sure though.»

Timesonline: Artists too frightened to tackle radical Islam