On the Death of Siegfried Lenz ? ?You have to justify your life?

Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

GoetheInstitute

08/11/2006

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.

Die Tageszeitung 08.11.2006

Emel Abidin-Algan (more here), daughter of the founder of the German Milli-Görüs group, has taken off her headscarf at the age of 44 and given it to the Haus der Geschichte in Bonn. She explains her reasons: "What is our understanding of a creator who demands uniforms only of women, so they may openly demonstrate their Islamic faith? What about a visible sign of devotion for men? The belief that religion is comprised of supposedly divine laws and indisputable religious duties – and not divine wisdom and recommendations – prevents open communication with dissenters, and reflection on the meaning of our actions."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
08.11.2006

Lothar Müller praises the exhibition "Picasso and the Theatre" at Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle: "Picasso, lover of bullfights and the circus, was open to the theatre of his time because in the early 20th century European theatre - whether with Max Reinhardt (more here) in Berlin or Diaghilev in Paris - was inspired by the circus... The avant-garde was bored by the declaimed word, and used ever-new experiments with novel and inventive sets, props and costumes. Often it verged on theatre without words, and avant-garde ballet was one of its spearheads. Picasso not only helped Cocteau with his Ballet Russes project, he took things right out of Cocteau's hands. He invented two figures, American and French managers contrived as sandwich men, living advertisements for Cocteau's circus. Then he got an even better idea and made them into advertisements for himself. Anyone who takes a look at the face of the Franch manager cannot help thinking the costume designer Picasso put him onstage to popularise Cubism."

Composer and Deleuze-fan Bernhard Lang talks with Gerhard Persche about his first opera "I Hate Mozart," which premieres tonight in Vienna's Theater an der Wien: "The title might strike people as a bit funny, but it was the director Michael Sturminger, who also wrote the libretto, who told me that people in the theatre often say the exact opposite of what they think. So of course the title contradicts what it says, establishing a negative theology of what it signifies. The piece is very finely wrought, psychologically chiselled. It focusses on theatre as a reproduction machine, and takes place roughly between the productions of "The Magic Flute" and "Don Giovanni." But you don't hear that, everything takes place so to speak in the next room. We see things after the fact, from behind the curtain. Mozart wafts along behind, under or beside the play, in a sort of musical shimmering. There are also moments where he shines through on his own, but in an ironic way, I couldn't hold myself back. The bits I cite are sometimes consciously false and distorted. Often the text is spoken backwards, something Mozart liked to do himself."


Der Tagesspiegel
08.11.2006

Michael Schindhelm, head of the Berlin Opera Foundation which is responsible for Berlin's three opera houses, tells Christine Lemke-Matwey and Rüdiger Schaper that he feels like a "pawn in the game" of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit who has taken it upon himself to do the work of cultural senator as well (more here). "Berlin is in the midst of a full-blown political conflict, in which the Opera Foundation has at most a metaphorical role. Last year, even, leading SPD politicians were saying that the disastrous state of the Staatsoper building was not so much a problem as a welcome symbol for the poverty of the city of Berlin. People (like Wowereit - ed.) who make appeals to the Federal government have a vested interest in such symbols. The decision of the Federal Court in Karlsruhe not to give money to Berlin to pay off its debt has not exactly relaxed the situation. This is about the big picture and the federal government, but the conflict is being fought over the Staatsoper."


Die Welt
08.11.2006

"Some see him as a bit of a stray dog, but in an affectionate sense. Shrewd, quick, robust, feet on the ground, but with his nose always sniffing the air." Manuel Brug analyses the newly re-elected mayor Klaus Wowereit's take on culture: "Would someone like him support an unknown choreographer the way the former CDU Cultural Senator Peter Radunski once supported Sasha Waltz? Today she dances at the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden, she is in worldwide demand, and has even set up her own performance space. Grass-roots culture, uncomfortable and question posing is something Wowereit has long since lost sight of. The Opera Foundation is for him nothing but an instrument of power and torture, he doesn't seem to give a damn about content."

Thomas Kielinger is full of praise for the Velazquez exhibition at the London National Gallery. "The secret of Velazquez and his artistry is instantly revealed in the succession and unfolding of the various stages of the exhibition. Hired as a court painter to his absolutist Catholic Majesty Philipp IV, Velazquez remains immune to the allure of pomp and pageantry. Velazquez is always the distanced observer of human nature, whether it's the Spanish royal family or the scoundrels in the 'bodegones', his genre paintings set in the city taverns.

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