Madness of Truth

Translation/Interpretation/Caption Text: 

Snow White and the Madness of Truth, Installation (2004)

Source: Art Liberated Network

Artists: Gunilla Sköld Feiler & Dror Feiler

Art description:

Pond filled with red colored water, size: 700 cm x 300 cm, boat size: 37 x 16 cm, text collage from documentary and fictive texts, music: Soprano aria 1 from Cantata 199 by J.S. bach: Mein Hertz schwimmt im Blut arranged by Dror Feiler, 5 aluminum dressed floodlighting, ladder, snow, winter cold.


On Friday the 16 of January 2004 during the opening evening of the exhibition "Making Differences” in The Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm the Israeli ambassador in Sweden attacked the installation "Snow White and the Madness of Truth". He disconnected the electric cords and threw one torch light into the pond. He attacked the art by pulling out the cords and throwing the spotlight into the water, interrupting the pumping system that circulated the “blood,” as a result of which it all froze and had to be chipped away the following day.

The Israeli ambassador’s attack on the installation Snow White and the Madness of Truth quickly became an art scandal that at the height of the controversy yielded 128,000 hits in Google related to it. The artists Gunilla Sköld Feiler & Dror Feiler where terrorized and threatened by anonymous telephone calls, e-mails and letters.

After the incident the Israeli government tried to force the Swedish government to take the installation down. The Swedish government stood firm and defended the freedom of expression.

Current status: The exhibition is over, the media coverage has faded away and the ambassador has long returned home. And 12 months after Snow White and the Madness of Truth attracted so much attention, two new works – both by women – on the subject of suicide bombers were exhibited in Israel.

The Haifa Museum of Art showed Dganit Brest’s photograph of a suicide bomber who blew herself up at a Tel Aviv shopping center. Taken from a newspaper, the photo was enlarged and placed in a context of "despair and death."

During the public debate that accompanied the exhibit, museum curator Nissim Tal explained to the public that “Grief, at the center of the public consensus, is one of the taboos of Israeli society. The use of the portrait, in an exhibit that invokes death in various ways, intensified the emotional turmoil.”

According to Dr. Ilan Saban of the Haifa University Law Department, “It is hard for me to understand how you see this as a glorification, you should have no fears regarding how most of us look at the picture. We all look at it from a place of fearing death.”

Palestinian-Israeli artist Nisreen Mazawi exhibited six photos of potential suicide bombers, freshly showered and barely dry ("since Palestinians are viewed as dirty") at Ramat Gan Museum. In another connection, Mazawi did a portrait of herself as a terrorist.

Opposed by: The Israeli Ambassador in Sweden

Reason: Political