"Mosque" Installation Case Reaches Dead End - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Mosque” Installation Case Reaches Dead End

Published August 11, 2015

Main photo by
Bjarni Grímsson

The installation piece “Mosque” that was shut down by Venice police last May might stay that way, as legal inroads reach a dead end. However, other avenues are being explored.

DV reports that “Mosque”, an installation piece by Cristoph Büchel consisting of a replica mosque built inside a deconsecrated church in Venice, Italy, will not open again any time soon. The Icelandic Arts Centre had attempted to appeal a decision made by the city’s police last May to shut down the installation.

While the Icelandic Arts Centre appealed to higher municipal authorities to reverse the decision and expedite the case, this motion was rejected. As the appeals process can take a year or more, this means the installation is unlikely to re-open before the end of the Venice Biennale celebrations, which conclude in November.

However, Björg Stefánsdóttir, the managing director of the Icelandic Arts Centre, told reporters that while they have given up trying to rectify the situation through court venues, they will try to re-open the exhibition by other means. This may include re-applying for a permit with Venice, or opening at a new location. She said she was “very sad” over the situation, and would not confirm whether they would attempt the installation in Iceland.

As reported, the installation provoked controversy almost immediately after opening. Last May, police shut down the exhibition, citing fear of violent reprisals from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

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