At one point during the press conference at the opening of his show, Georg Baselitz asked whether Stommeln Synagogue was not after all the exhibition centre of the community of Stommeln. This ironic conceit – pretending to be unaware of the nature of this showroom – illustrates the position the Baselitz assumed vis-à-vis the historically charged meaning of the building. He ignores the building’s significance as former Jewish synagogue and steers clear of the ostentatious shock people tend to parade when confronted with recent German history, an attitude which has all too often deteriorated into a reflex. He places a wooden sculpture into the showroom, crudely worked with chain saw and hatchet, painted a bright yellow, and presented on a pedestal. His affinity to the colour yellow, Baselitz himself suggests, may have been inspired by the two canaries his father used to keep. Although the yellow colour of the artwork represents – together with the red colour of the window and the nearly black Torah shrine – the only pure colour in the Synagogue’s interior, thus triggering political associations that could hardly be incidental, Baselitz keeps running circles around his critics by affecting an artist’s aloofness and irony, attempting to dodge interpretations and in effect admitting only to his work’s ties to the system of art. As a German artist, the first to be invited after Kounellis and Serra to interact with this place, high expectations were vested in him, which he deflects exclusively from inside the art system, and which he thereby frustrates. It is his way of responding indirectly to the institutionalisation of shock and shame, and the commandeering of art by societal and/or political expediency. In answer to the question why he decided to show his work at Stommeln Synagogue, Baselitz said: because Kounellis and Serra also showed their work here. The flippancy of this and other arguments illustrates how he refuses to discuss his work outside the parameters of art itself.