Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, Bremen. April 2022 – February 2023. Joseph Sassoon Semah: How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist.  4 interventions by the artist

Gerhard-Marcks-Haus,  Am Wall 208, Bremen
April 2022 – February 2023
Joseph Sassoon Semah: How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist 
4 interventions by the artist

[The usefulness of continuous measurement of the distance between Nostalgia and Melancholia] (September 2021 – June 2022)

A critical project concerning post-war artist Joseph Beuys
Created by Joseph Sassoon Semah, curator Linda Bouws
© Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten

Joseph Sassoon Semah (b. 1948) has been a regular guest at the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus since 1997. “Guest” is a central term to his art. He is a descendant of the last Chief Rabbi of Baghdad and now lives in Amsterdam. As an Arab Jew, he presents a perspective on the history of modern art that is shaped by his origins. In doing so, he both critiques and complements our thinking. In 2022 and the beginning of 2023 we will present four interventions by this artist.

When Sassoon Semah lived in Berlin in the late 1970s, he became interested in how German artists processed the subject of the Holocaust. This led to research into the work of Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) and Wolf Vostell (1932-1998). Vostell was one of the first artists in Germany to integrate photos of the mass murder into their artworks, while with Beuys it was primarily the “interpreters” who discovered references to it in his works with fat and felt.
Sassoon Semah is also interested in the role-playing of the two artists, for example when Vostell dressed as an Orthodox Jew in order to refer to a culture that had been destroyed in Germany and Europe, or when Beuys showed a Hitler salute, that was then reinterpreted as art. In the group of works shown in the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus Sassoon Semah refers to famous works of these artists and interprets them through this.

The drawings and sculpture demonstrate how Sassoon Semah reads and develops images.
The cross-section of the railroad track (the logistics of mass murder) can also be interpreted as a Hebrew letter, literally transgressing the common reading. In Jewish iconography, the horns recall Abraham’s rejection of human sacrifice. As musical instruments played at important ceremonies in the synagogue, they refer to the deeds of man and sometimes to the redemption of the people of Israel. Sassoon Semah invites museum visitors – most of whom have some Christian background – to immerse themselves in a world of imagery that is unfamiliar to them. By radically reinterpreting European artworks, he turns them into places of exile for a vanished culture.

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On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV – How to Explain Hare Hunting To A Dead German Artist – Maarten Luther Kerk – Amsterdam

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] (september 2021 – december 2022)
A critical project concerning post-war artist Joseph Beuys created by Joseph Sassoon Semah, curator Linda Bouws

Maarten Luther Kerk, Dintelstraat 134, Amsterdam
15 mei 2022, aanvang 15.30 uur, Opening Tentoonstelling, Performance en Bijeenkomst
15 mei t/m 15 juli Tentoonstelling, bezoek op afspraak

Programma 15 mei:
15.30 uur: Welkom Dr. A.H. Wöhle, President Evangelisch-Lutherse Synode in de Protestantse Kerk
15.45 uur: Performance Joseph Sassoon Semah en zijn vrienden en tentoonstelling bezichtigen










16.15 uur: Meeting met o.a. Andreas Wöhle en Joseph Sassoon Semah: Joseph Beuys en Christus impuls











17.15 uur: Afsluitende borrel

In het werk van kunstenaar Joseph Beuys is de christelijke iconografie een van de belangrijkste thema’s, met name de Christus impuls.
Hij gebruikt objecten die staan voor het geestelijke zoeken, de moderne devotie: de crucifix, een wandelstok, een vogel, een haas.
Door te lijden ontstaat het vermogen tot scheppingskracht “kunst is een geestelijke act die telkens opnieuw moet gebeuren.”
Beuys werd sterk beïnvloed door de antroposoof Rudolf Steiner, “Christus-ich Kraft”. Voor Steiner was de fysieke incarnatie van Jezus aan het begin van de tijdrekening een eenmalige gebeurtenis.
Steiner noemt dit de ‘Christus impuls’ en ‘het mysterie van Golgotha’.

Welk Christusbeeld had Beuys voor ogen? Hoe verhoudt zijn Christusbeeld zich tot zijn kunst?
Welke invloed had Steiner op zijn werk?
Hoe reflecteert Joseph Sassoon Semah in zijn kunstwerken op Joseph Beuys?
Hoe kijkt Andres Wöhle naar Beuys, Steiner en Joseph Sassoon Semah?
Er wordt samengewerkt met o.a. Maarten Lutherkerk, Gerhard-Marcks-Haus Bremen, Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam/UvA, Lumen Travo Gallery, Deutsche Bank, Landgoed Nardinclant-Amsterdamgarden, Redstone Natuursteen & Projecten, Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg AmacuraThe Maastricht Institute for Arts.
Na afloop van de manifestatie wordt een complementaire publicatie samengesteld.

Het project is mede mogelijk gemaakt door het Mondriaan Fonds, het publieke stimuleringsfonds voor beeldende kunst en cultureel erfgoed en Redstone Natuursteen & Projecten.

A land flowing with milk and honey – 2022

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Joseph Sassoon Semah – Bushuis Oost-Indisch Huis & Duitsland Instituut

Bushuis – Ooost-Indisch Huis, UvA, Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam
Installation Joseph Sassoon Semah: 24 March – 24 June 2022

Duitsland Instituut, UvA – SPUI25 – 7 april 2022, 17.00 hrs
Meeting: Footnotes accompanying the work of Joseph Beuys and Joseph Sassoon Semah
A Meeting with Hans Peter Riegel (Switzerland), Dr. Arie Hartog (Director Gerhard-Marcks Haus Bremen) and Joseph Sassoon Semah, under the direction of Professor Ton Nijhuis (Director DIA)
Introduction by Hans Peter Riegel, author of the four-part critical biography about Joseph Beuys, ‘Beuys, Die Biografie’, the standard reference to Beuys.

Reservation SPUI25:

Art cannot be seen disengaged from society – which political, social and cultural implications does Joseph Beuys’ work show us? How do work and politics relate in Beuys’ work, what is myth and what is reality? Did Beuys free art of power and financial gain or did he use his art with the purpose to forget or idealize his own war history and that of Germany? Does his transformation from perpetrator to victim fit into post-war Germany? How did Beuys use his ‘visual codes’, that have disappeared, and secret symbols?

Do works of art lose their magic when the imagery is based on a myth and lies?
What role do the German art world and politics play to promote Joseph Beuys to one of the most important post-war artists?
How must we interpret Beuys in this celebratory year 2021/22?

‘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]’ (‘Hasenjagd’ is the code word for killing Jews during World War II) centers on Joseph Beuys and Joseph Sassoon Semah takes us on a journey of critical analysis of Beuys. Linda Bouws is the curator.

Joseph Sassoon Semah, has done extensive research into Joseph Beuys’ work, values and ideas and based on this research and texts he will analyse the deeper meaning of the (secret) symbols used by Joseph Beuys for ‘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]’. He reacts to them using new monumental sculptures and a series of old and new drawings, performances, texts and meetings.

This project wants to raise public awareness about the missing information on Joseph Beuys.
Information that has been disregarded during this celebratory year or has been evaded to avoid uncomfortable confrontations. A new project about the reading of Beuys ‘shrouded’ art by the Jewish-Babylonian artist Joseph Sassoon Semah.

We cooperate with among others with Gerard-Marcks-Haus Bremen, Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam, Deutsche Bank, Lumen Travo Gallery, Redstone Natuursteen &Projecten, Maarten Lutherkerk, Advocatenkantoor Birkway, Landgoed Nardinclant/Amsterdam Garden, Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg Amacura and The Maastricht Institute for the Arts. After completion of the manifestation a complementary publication will be compiled.

© Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten
The project is realised in part with the support of Mondriaan Fund, the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage and Redstone Natuursteen & Projecten.

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Lumen Travo Gallery – Amsterdam: Joseph Sassoon Semah – Solo exhibition ‘On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV

Joseph Sassoon Semah – Solo exhibition ‘On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV

Lumen Travo Gallery – Jan. 22 – March 12, 2022. Lijnbaansgracht 314, 1017 WZ Amsterdam

On the occasion of his solo show at Lumen Travo Gallery, Joseph Sassoon Semah takes us on a journey of a critical analysis of Joseph Beuys and the Germany’s post-war history.

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]

Exhibition curated by Linda Bouws

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Linda Bouws ~ Joseph Sassoon Semah: Re-Thinking The Concept Of GaLUT, Re-Claiming The Lost Culture

Click to enlarge

From: Linda Bouws & Joseph Sassoon Semah (Eds.) – Joseph Sassoon Semah – On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, 2020. ISBN 978 90 361 0601 6.
To order the book, please send e-mail to Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten, € 39,95 excl. shipping costs, NL 42 INGB 0006 9281 68 o.v.v. On Friendship III, please add name & address. Contact:

Photo’s: Ilya Rabinovich

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On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV, November 11, 2021, Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, Performance

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]
(September 2021 – June 2022)
A critical project concerning post-war artist Joseph Beuys

Created by Joseph Sassoon Semah, curator Linda Bouws

Joseph Semah
Beuys and Wolf Vostell – Zwischen Dichtung und Wahrheit

11 November 2021


Joseph Sassoon Semah with friends:
Baruch Abraham
Roel Arkesteijn
Masja Austen
Peter Baren
Uzi Heymann (piano)
Bülent Evren
Jom Semah
Yvonne Strang
Els Wijnen

Two postwar German Artists – Wolf Vostell / Joseph Beuys.
As will be clear, both of them became the [symbolic] Victim;
Joseph Beuys a volunteer soldier in the Third Reich transformed himself into the Victim of the Nazi-Era, and with him, West-Germany will cure itself.
On the other hand, Wolf Vostell simply transformed himself into a Jew, i.e. the Victim.

The Christian legend concerning The Wandering Jew [The Eternal Jew] is as old as Christianity.
In the year 1602, a pamphlet in the German language [8 pages] has been published, entitled – “Kurze Beschreibung und Erzählung von einem Juden / mit namen Ahasverus” [A Brief Description and Narration Regarding a Jew / Named Ahasuerus].
This pamphlet is considered to be an influential work on Christian’s thoughts concerning the Jew.
The pamphlet describes a meeting between Paulus von Eitzen and the so-called ‘ The Wandering Jew” who claimed to be punished directly by Jesus – that is to say, that the Jew named Ahasuerus had been doomed by Jesus to wander the rest of his life till the second coming of Christ.
“…………The Lord Christ as he was led past under his cross, had rested against his [the Jew] house for a moment: as this was brought to his [the Jew] attention by several onlookers he had walked up to where he [Jesus] was: and had scolded at him and had told him to clear off/ to go there where he was destined to go. Christ had then fixed his gaze on him and had spoken to him more or less these words:
I want to stand still and rest / but you should go……..”

Camera & editing: Bob Schoo,

© Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten 2021

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