Marina Abramović Poster Attacked by Far Right as ‘Political Propaganda’
Italian politicians want to censor the artist’s poster for a sailing event, which reads ‘We’re all in the same boat’
A sailing regatta poster produced by the artist Marina Abramović has been attacked by a right-wing Italian politician as ‘political propaganda.’ Designed for the Barcolana regatta in the Gulf of Trieste, the poster features the artist clutching a white flag which reads: ‘We’re all in the same boat’.
The Barcolana, which has been held since 1969 and is one of the most important regattas in the world, traditionally commissions an artist each year to design a poster. Abramović’s design for the 50th edition, set to take place in October, was intended as a ‘universal’ message of ‘respect, support and action for the environment’.
But Abramović’s poster managed to provoke the deputy mayor of Trieste, and member of the far-right Lega Party Paolo Polidori, who wrote on Facebook: ‘Unacceptable, in bad taste, immoral to make political propaganda out of an event, the Barcolana, that belongs to the entire city.’ According to the Art Newspaper, Polidori went on to compare Abramović’s design to Communist images of Mao Zedong.
Interpreting the poster as implicit criticism of Lega leader and foreign minister Matteo Salvini’s recent controversial decision to shut Italian ports to migrant rescue boats, Polidori called for the poster to be removed, or else for council funding to be withdrawn.
Polidori later said that the ‘horrible as well as misleadingly political work, will not be present on the territory of Trieste.’ However, in a statement sent to Vice, the Barcolana insisted that the poster had not been censored, and would still be used for ‘national and international’ marketing.
German Green Party politicians recently launched a campaign calling for cultural freedom to be defended in the face of Europe’s far-right turn. ‘Art is free, it does not have to please and it must not serve,’ they wrote. Meanwhile last month, a major Frida Kahlo exhibition in Hungary was accused by a far-right newspaper loyal to the ruling Fidesz party of ‘promoting communism’.