A statue depicting a seemingly contrite Adolf Hitler kneeling in prayer in the former Jewish ghetto in Warsaw is causing a stir in Poland. Artist-provocateur Maurizio Cattelan created the statue, titled “Him,” in conjunction with an exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw.
Cattelan’s statue is visible to the public only through a hole in a gate, according to reports. Viewers can see the statue’s back, but not its face.
The artwork has been drawing condemnation. The Simon Wiesenthal Center called the statue “a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazis’ Jewish victims,” according to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Cattelan is an Italian artist who lives in New York. His provocative body of work includes the infamous “The Ninth Hour,” a sculpture showing Pope John Paul II crushed under a meteorite.
The official website for Warsaw’s Center for Contemporary Art provides images of the artist’s other works featured in the exhibit. The center’s director, Fabio Cavallucci, has been quoted saying that “there is no intention from the side of the artist or the centre to insult Jewish memory.”