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

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14/06/2007

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.

Die Zeit 14.06.2007

The literature section shows off with a three-page discussion between authors Günther Grass and Martin Walser. The two cosy up to one another under a nut tree in Grass' garden and exchange compliments ("I love him" – "You looked really good"), and talk about writing, life and love. It's impossible to pick a quote! But if we have to: Iris Radisch and Christof Siemes ask Grass once again why he waited so long to talk about his enlistment in the SS in his autobiography (more here). "Walser: 'Heavens above. That's his prerogative!' Grass: 'Because I'm a writer. I'm not a member of the communist party and don't have to admit my sins publicly. I'm also not part of a Christian sect which goes in for public confessions because of the miracle of Whitsun.' Walser: 'I need a cigarillo now! I can only talk about that when I'm smoking." Talk then gets on to aging. "Walser: 'It's never been so taboo to get older and carry on working as it is now! And if an old person falls in love, he's a randy old man.' Grass: 'My experience of what is commonly known as randiness, is that sexual love becomes more sophisticated with old age, it slows down.' Walser: 'You don't need to start putting the case for death row.' Grass: 'But surprising though it may seem, I see old age as asset in that respect.'"

Hanno Rauterberg is doing the grand tour from Venice to Kassel and compares the Biennale with documenta: "Both exhibitions are astoundingly similar. Both rally against the überpower of the art market and call for art that inteferes and shakes things up. They ask what's left of the 'modern project'. They're even displaying work from some of the same artists. And yet the two exhibitions couldn't be more different. Kassel and Venice are exemplary in demonstrating how to pursue a political aesthetic and what effect it can have."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 14.07.2007

Gottfried Knapp visited the third major event of the 2007 mega art summer, namely "sculpture projects münster 07," which opens on Saturday in the city of Münster. "At the sculpture projects - which have taken place every ten years since 1977 - a certain continuity is offered by the fact that all four events have been curated by Kasper König. Indeed it's like a retrospective monument, inviting historical comparisons and highlighting new tendencies.... The object that Bruce Nauman wanted to erect thirty years ago on the grounds of the Science Centre could only be realised this year. But even today, 'Square Depression' is among the most powerful sculptures on display for art pilgrims. The shining white concrete surface sinks into the ground like a negative pyramid. Visitors who descend right to its lowest point can only see fragments of the surroundings over the square's horizon. In this way they're deprived of perspectival orientation and feel the double meaning of the English word 'depression'."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.06.2007

On the cinema page, Alexander Horwath, film curator of this year's documenta and director of the Filmmuseum in Vienna, chats to filmmaker Harun Farocki about art, cinema and everything in-between. Horwath defends cinema in it's current form. "You say that sooner or later the cinema will be much like an exhibition space. I think that cinema already is an exhibition space and was from the start and I mean an exhibition space appropriate to this medium."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 14.06.2007

Sonja Margolina investigates the roots of the new Russian authoritarianism, recalling how Stalin's terror and policy of fear anticipated potential threats to his power from upcoming democratic elections. "Seen against this background, the Kremlin's operation 'Successor to the President,' accompanied by an intensified power struggle and reprisals against a harmless opposition, looks like its scenario had been written exactly seventy years ago. Today the context is completely different, but that only strengthens the feeling of deja-vu. Just like in 1937, the Kremlin's panic is fired by the impossibility of democratic change of government. The simple existence of the constitution demonstrates the illegitimate character of this usurpation of power by an unelected clique."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
14.06.2007

Cologne-based writer Dieter Wellershoff joins the debate on a large mosque planned for the city's Ehrenfeld district (more here and here). He acknowledges that "film sequences showing major Muslim events where masses of similarly-dressed men lie squeezed together with their foreheads pressed to the ground have always alienated and repelled me. For me these prone bodies were like a critical mass of unpredictable energy that is controlled and fused into a powerful general will by the amplified voice of the imam."

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