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Western Europe

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From a societal point of view, Western Europe generally follows with a slight delay developments witnessed in the United States. 

You can see that this is also the case when it comes to censorship: the Europeans seem to be following in the footsteps of the Americans. Thus in 2020 the Tate followed the American decisions regarding the postponement of the Guston Exhibition, and pressure was exerted the same year in France so that the works of Hervé Dirosa which had been exhibited at the National Assembly since 1991 be withdrawn on an analogous motive. 

In another register of censorship shared on both sides of the Atlantic, it is unfailingly right to think that it is completely legitimate to interrupt any collaboration with government agencies of States which openly violate human rights or invade neighboring countries which have not threatened them. It is however unacceptable that artists who do not support these regimes or even are brave enough to oppose them at the risk of their lives, suffer from indiscriminate decisions.

This is unfortunately an increasingly common phenomenon in the United States as in Europe, as such decisions are taken both by elected officials and by the artistic institutions themselves.


CENSORS: PALAZZO MAGNANI FOUNDATION, Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Thus, in February 2022, 3 days after the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Palazzo Magnani Foundation, organizer of the Fotografia Europea festival in Reggio Emilia, decided to cancel the collective exhibition Trails in the Ice, which it organized in collaboration with the Russian Hermitage Museum. This decision to censor the artworks of the concerned artists was made hastily, without being requested by the Italian State or the European Commission, and above all without ensuring that these artists were not, at least for some of them, opponents of Vladimir Putin's regime and threatened by it for this reason. With the desire to act swifly in an uncomplicated way, no effort has therefore been made to maintain or accentuate the presence of works by artists residing in Russia and opposing the regime, or by Russian artists who have had to flee their country because of their dissent. For them, this censorship is therefore a double penalty.

And this is clearly the case of Alexander Gronsky, an Estonian photographer who has been living in Moscow for seven years, recognized for his photos of Russian suburban landscapes and whose several works were programmed within the framework of this exhibition. It so happened that on the very day when in Italy the cancellation of the exhibition was announced, the artist was arrested in Moscow for having shouted "No to war!" in an anti-government demonstration.

AC, 11/18/2022

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