ON FRIENDSHIP / (COLLATERAL DAMAGE)
Since 2015 Joseph Sassoon Semah and curator Linda Bouws are closely involved in the large-multi-year project entitled: On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) in which we supplement Western art-history with the missing information, the ‘empty page'. By exchanging research, cultural heritage, art, exhibitions, performances, round-table discussions, interviews and video reports, articles on internet and English version publications, knowledge, opinions and experiences have been shared, generating attention for a different outlook than the dominant Western one.
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV - How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist [The usefulness of continuous measurement of the distance between
Nostalgia and Melancholia] (2021-2023) has been centered on Joseph Beuys and post-war West-German culture and politics.
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam (2019-2020), the dominant subject was the significance of lost culture, exile, hospitality, and identity. At 36 very different and diverse locations in Amsterdam, Joseph Sassoon Semah shared his forgotten cultural heritage via visual art, performances, debates and lectures. For the manifestation, Sassoon Semah produced 36 architectural models based on houses, cultural institutions, synagogues and Jewish graveyards in Baghdad prior to 1948, referring to the lost rich history of the Jewish Babylonian culture.
At the same time, he built two temporary houses - named MaKOM in MaKOM - in Amsterdam (Hermitage Amsterdam), and in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Biennale). In the manifestation, specific reference was made to the cultural and religious diversity in Jewish communities, with the purpose of giving the rich Babylonian Jewish culture a place next to the Western Jews, and the memory of SHOAH. In a metaphorical sense, Part III is an ode to a lost culture, and at the same time an invitation to dialogue between the different points of view in Judaism.
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) II – The Guardians of the Door (2017-2018), the focus was on Martin Luther and 500 years since the start of the Reformation, a critical artistic reflection on Luther's image as a 'superstar', including his antisemitic publication named On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), it's meaning, then and now.
The critical reflection included works of art, artistic interventions, performances, lectures and a publication. The Nieuwe Kerk, Joods Historisch Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Goethe-Institut Amsterdam were partners in the project. information, the ‘empty page'.As part of this manifestation, Joseph Sassoon Semah created a work of art entitled The Doubling of the House in the premises of the Stedelijk Museum, and he gave 5 performances with friends, in which he responded to the collection of the Museum. Prior to the performances, a Stedelijk Statement evening took place and the accompanying book was presented. In one of the performances, he painted a tetragrammaton on the wall of the historic
staircase in which he first made a reference to Toroni's vanished work, that is before he painted over it a black square. From the moment this black square was painted on the wall, the future discourse with ‘the Guest’ is no longer without obligation. The Guest becomes part of the institute. The Guest is transformed into the Host.
In part I of On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) - 2015 - our lawyer B.A. Vink called upon Beatrix Ruf (director of the Stedelijk Museum) to account for 'the empty page' (lack of Jewish context) in art history on behalf of the art world. The accompanying information provided by the museum gives less attention to the Jewish narrative. Such as the information provided about the artwork of Kazimir Malevich (The Black Square) and Barnett Newman. As a result of our project, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam adapted our information to the hall text of Newman's Cathedra, and by that The black square cannot view only through the lens of the Futuristic Manifesto and Christian tradition, but also through the Jewish layers of meaning.
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) V: Between Graveyard and Museum's Sphere is in preparation for 2023/2of our project, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam adapted our information to the hall text of Newman's Cathedra, and by that The black square cannot view only through the lens of the Futuristic Manifesto and Christian tradition, but also through the Jewish layers of meaning.
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) V: Between Graveyard and Museum's Sphere is in preparation for 2024.