Bonn Some pictures of the artist Till Eitel on the banks of the Rhine were destroyed. The police suspect a racist motivation by the culprits. Whether the pictures will be hung again is currently unclear.
Hardly hung up and already destroyed: the action "Art walk on the Rheinufer" of the Bonn artist Till Eitel has become the victim of the destruction by unknown perpetrators in the night to Monday. Of the 40 street photographs that he and his helpers had hung up in hours of work along 1.2 kilometers of the promenade between Tempelstraße and Wasserwerk only on Saturday, 19 motifs were torn down from the lanterns and destroyed, others remained missing. A passerby had informed Eitel about it on Monday.
"With such an action in public space, you have to expect that sometimes a picture is changed or even taken away," says Eitel indeed; but the circumstances of this act are possibly different: "The experience left me quite shocked," says the 61-year-old, because: The destruction shows a clearly recognizable pattern: Only those paintings were torn down that show people with dark skin or wearing headscarves, Jews or homosexuals. For the artist, who has his studio on Adenauerallee, "a shocking way to express an opinion."
Now the State Security Service is investigating
In the meantime, the Bonn police are also investigating the matter and, in view of the pattern of the crime, have handed the case over to their State Protection department. The investigators shared the assessment that much points to a xenophobic motivation of the perpetrator or perpetrators, said a spokesman. So far, there are no concrete clues to suspects, he said. The police investigate, and can be contacted at 0228/150.
Till Eitel is still undecided how he will deal with the situation. "On the one hand, I would of course like to reproduce the pictures despite the high expense; on the other hand, it is perhaps more effective to document the gap left behind," he weighed on Tuesday. In any case, he has no desire for a "ping-pong game" with the perpetrators.
The "art walk" had come about in cooperation with the city's sports and culture department. "First and foremost, these pictures should give confidence and bring joy" - with these words Eitel had originally presented his art action. The pictures come from his private archive, which he had sorted through during the first Corona Lockdown. At eswareinmal.eyetill.com the pictures are to be seen also in the Internet. Against the background of the recent destruction, the name of the site has now acquired sad ambiguity.
Original text: Rüdiger Franz
Translation: Mareike Graepel