They?re Still Painting, and More: The Leipzig Art Scene

First a success, then a bubble: the hype surrounding the ?New Leipzig School? put the city on the map of the art world, but also blinkered its vision.... more more

GoetheInstitute

27/03/2009

From the Feuilletons

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 21.03.2009

German finance minister Peer Steinbrück has outraged the Swiss by accusing their banks of helping German citizens dodge taxes (more here). The minister was then accused of being a Nazi by the Swiss press and one parliamentarian, after he compared the Swiss to Indians scared of the US cavalry. The Swiss writer Alex Capus had the following to say about bank secrecy: "... Switzerland would be well advised to steer clear of Nazi allusions, otherwise the Swiss banks' role in World War II will inevitably be dragged into the bank secrecy debate. And no self-respecting Swiss could deny that Steinbrück is right in what he says. All Swiss people know that bank secrecy, in its current form, serves tax fraud – not only but also. Everyone knows that rich people should not be able to avoid taxes and that the Swiss differentiation between tax evasion and tax fraud is purely academic."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 21.03.2009

In an interview, Albanian writer Ismail Kadare talks about why he joined the Communist Party: Enver Hoxha requested it. "This only seems strange at first. I became a party member long after I had published in the West, in other words at a time when I no longer needed to do so. At the time I even welcomed being denounced as a Western writer – at least it separated me from Socialist Realism. It was because of my success in the West that I joined the party. It was the paradox I mentioned earlier: on the one hand he is liked by the 'bourgeoisie' and on the other he's supposed to be one of us? Not surprisingly the Communist hard liners had their problems with this. One day the party secretary of the writers' association approached me and tol me that I should apply to join the Party. He advised me not to say anything – the request had come from Enver Hoxha himself. ... What was I to do? Say no? It would have meant the end for me, a pointless sacrifice. Sooner or later they would have found a way to condemn me as a French agent. The people would have applauded. And apart from that you must relativise the importance of my mandate. Anything really important was decided by the Party."


Perlentaucher
23.03.2009

Few books provoked more spleen last year than Götz Aly's farewell bid to the '68 movement, "Unser Kampf" (our struggle), in which the historian draws parallels between the German student movement and their parents, who came to power in 1933. At Perlentaucher, Aly defends himself against his critics. "The comrades descended on my 40 or so readings in small groups, arms linked. Steely grey and humourless they took their seats and launched into cries of: "Renegade! Turncoat! Sellout! And don't expect us to read that sorry bit of writing! Furiously they hurled their insults at me: 'Traitor!' 'Squealer!' yet upholding all the while "the exclusively educational and progressive character of our movement' and their own innocence." Read an interview with Götz Aly and Katarina Rutschky on the subject, "Back to Rudi Dutschke's pram".


Die Welt 24.03.2009

Johnny Ehrling wanders across Tiananmen Square, almost 20 years after the massacre. In the queue for the Mao mausoleum, he meets the young employee Liu Yang from Henan province. "The twenty year anniversary of the June fourth massacre has no meaning for youngsters like Liu Yang. They neither learned in school nor the censored media about how, in the middle of the night, China's army shot its way through the city to Tiananmen Square, how they surrounded it and forced the students, who had been camping there for weeks, to retreat via the south exit. Just where Liu Yang is standing to visit Mao. 523 citizens are believed to have died during the night as the army marched towards the square, as well as 45 police and soldiers who shot at each other in the chaos. These are the figures listed in an apparently authentic document from the Chinese authorities that was smuggled out of the country. Exact numbers are one of China's best kept state secrets." (The figures vary drastically: a recent book on the massacre cites a NATO report that puts the death count at 7,000; a Chinese Red Cross report that was later denied said that 2,600 had officially died by the morning of June 4; Amnesty International puts the figure at 1,000; and according to the official Chinese version 241 died and 7,000 were wounded.)

The SZ notes on 26.03.2009 a Google search of 'Tianamen Square' in China today provides no reference to the 1989 protest at all.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
24.03.2009

Paul Jandl writes a feature on Serb architect Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has built over twenty memorials against war and fascism in various parts of the former Yugoslavia. The Museum of Austrian Architecture is hosting an exhibition on his work. "Bogdan Bogdanovic is a nonconformist," writes Jandl, "who always felt more comfortable with syncretism than dogma. The architect, who came from a middle class, francophile home, became a deistic Trotzkyite, and he remains a Jacobin mystic. In his work, he felt no less indebted to the mathematical principles of Pythagorus than to the old Balkan traditions of building. For his first large project, the architect became well-versed in Jewish mysticism and the Kabbala. For the Belgrade memorial for the Jewish victims of fascism, he placed a portal made of coarse stones at the end of a cemetery alley. This architecture of transition is meant to be 'antiperspectival'. A portal that opens, rather than closes, into its vanishing lines."


Perlentaucher 25.03.2009

The literature professor Roland Reuß has been blasting "Open Access" for weeks (story in German) and has launched a "Heidelberg Appeal" for improved IP rights that has been signed by a long list of prominent academics, journalists, writers and publishers. In Perlentaucher, Matthias Spielkamp explains why Open Access represents an alternative to the commercial trade journals that charge libraries exorbitant subscription rates. "In order to get published in such journals, academics often have to grant the publisher exclusive rights of use for their articles. This means that they are no longer permitted to publish their contributions in another forum - neither on their own web site, nor on that of their university. They don't receive an honorarium; on the contrary, academics do peer review 'pro bono', i.e., at the expense of their employer, which is to say - if they work at publicly supported institutions such as universities - at the expense of the taxpayer. The taxpayer pays, and the corporation rings the profits: Just who is dispossessing whom, here?"


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26.03.2009

Spanish theater group La Fura dels Baus has staged György Ligeti's "Le grand macabre" in Brussels. According to Martin Zähringer, it begins like this: "The overture, replete with car horns, is accompanied by a Franc Aleu video that introduces us to Claudia. This somewhat solid singer from the chorus of Barcelona's opera house collapses on the remains of a sumptuous meal, grabbing her chest in mortal fear. Her cry becomes frozen in a tableau that is immediately tranformed into a larger than life sculpture that Alfons Flores balances on the stage. A mountain of a woman, peculiarly fallen to her knees, stares at us with vacant eyes that occasionally become full again; with an open mouth, from which an enormous tongue occasionally darts, and with two nipples serving as garden doors."


Frankfurter Rundschau
27.03.2009

Harry Nutt commemorates the hundredth birthday of Golo Mann and describes the ideological resistance the historian and writer encountered - even from the left: "The pain of the emigrant's return is captured in an episode related to Mann's appointment to a position at Frankfurt University. It was thwarted by no less than Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. They feared, probably with good reason, Golo Mann's intellectual influence on a liberal Germany and, according to contemporaries, intervened, with references to Mann's homosexuality and his mental illnesses. Later, there was even talk of 'covert anti-Semitism.' Golo Mann tried to defend himself by threatening to make public an article of Adorno's in which he blatantly tendered his musico-sociological reflections in the service of National Socialist convictions."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
read more

From the feuilletons

Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
read more

From the feuilletons

Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
read more

From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
read more