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

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13/06/2007

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 13.06.2007

The contemporary art exhibition documenta, which takes place every five years in Kassel, starts in three days. This year it revolves around the question of whether modernity is our antiquity. Thomas Wagner considers this a key issue of our time, as it poses the question of our relationship to tradition. And he's confident the exhibition will provide some good answers: "If we do recognise our own antiquity in modernity, it will have far-reaching consequences. When antiquity was replaced by the present as a point of reference in the 18th century, you could say it became in turn anchored in the past. If that's correct, then the door suddenly stands open once more, and we are no longer solely dependent upon ourselves and our own thinking in establishing norms and values for our time."

Martin Mosebach, Frankfurt-based author and winner of this year's Georg Büchner Prize (more here), remembers painter Peter Schermuly, who died last week. "With time, the idea of 'pure colour' seemed increasingly unnatural to him. The red of a rose petal, a lipstick and a flag are entirely distinct, even if they're comprised of the same pigment. To lend his colours the degree of precision and variety he had in mind, he had to turn from abstraction to figurative art. So it was never an iconographic interest that was at the heart of Schermuly's intensely colourful still lifes. Even when he was painting flowers or stones, the rectangle of the canvas was for him basically a Zen garden of meditation, in which each and every pebble had to be put in the right place. Often flowers withered while he painted them. He let them whither in his paintings, and discovered in innumerable shades of grey and ochre a richness of tones that had long seemed to be lost."


Frankfurter Rundschau 13.06.2007

The filmmaker Wim Wenders devotes an essay to Europe and why it needs art to give it a soul. He writes: "After the (probably necessary) era of economic primacy, now nearing its end, Europe has to develop a utopia again! That of course means upholding social justice, preserving peace and freedom, respecting human rights as well as fighting for the health of our ailing planet. But in the next era this can't all be achieved with political and economic means alone. If Europe wants to remain credible in the eyes of its own citizens, it should really define itself by what it's fundamentally always been about: the wonderful, chaotic and unique diversity of its culture!" See our feature "Giving Europe a soul?" by Wim Wenders.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 13.06.2007

Philipp Meier saw a lot of pomp but little innovation at the opening of the 38th Art Basel. "When in Basel, one thing is clear. It's less and less likely you'll come across a real find here. Business rules and they're trading the market's most valuable assets. What the exhibitors are selling is just a lot of standard and expensive art, often tailored to the needs of the private homeowner."


Berliner Zeitung 13.06.2007

Ines Geipel, the newly appointed writer-in-residence in the East German town of Beeskow in Brandenburg, speaks her mind about the mafia scandal in the neighbouring state of Saxony. Last month a meaty file of evidence was handed over to the state prosecution, implicating a string of high ranking politicians and state officials in a criminal network. "In East Germany we are witnessing the criminal erosion of democracy by offenders of all political persuasions. This growth of underground criminal activity which has been known about for years is partly due to the fragile post-reunification period, but it's also part of a broader phenomenon, the increasing disregard for civil society."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 13.06.2007

"There's nothing he does really well, but everything he does, he does right," is how Jens-Christian Rabes sums up the concert given by German pop star Herbert Grönemeyer in his home town Bochum. As proof he points to an entry in the guest book on Grönemeyer's homepage: "Dear Mr Grönemeyer! We (a couple of elderly women, both over 45) just love your music, your skill with words, your approach to life and your person, and would very much like to make a suggestion! As you have a firm insight into almost all circumstances, what about animals? Their saga starts with the parrot (50 years in a little cage) and goes right through to the elephant, the chicken farm, whaling, animal transport, etc. A small song by YOU would do a lot to shake people up. WE are convinced that YOU (who else?) could do that! It's not for nothing that you're our favourite German, because your brain ticks right!"

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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.
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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

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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.
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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.
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