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

11/12/2009

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.

Die Tageszeitung 05.12.2009

Ronald Berg travelled to Wolfsburg to see James Turrell's light installation "The Wolfsburg Project" (website). "Turrell's work consists of 57,000 LEDs, it's 11 metres high and takes up 700 square metres of floor space, almost the entire main hall of the museum. But the giant room in a room is empty, except for a ramp, which allows you to float down from the first to the ground floor and bathe in light. What Turrell has created here, together with the light technology company Zumtobel, is what psychologists would call a full field piece. The slowly changing light completely fills the human field of perception, backlit walls and floor no longer exist for the eye in this space, everything is light."


Die Tageszeitung
09.12.2009

In an interview with Ruthard Stäblein, Herta Müller explains the importance of literature in the face of oppression. "I always had my poems which I could repeat to myself. Even under interrogation. It's like singing in a prison camp. You never grow tired of it. You can rely on given forms, lean on them. I have often thought it was like praying, for people who don't believe in God. And its nicer than praying. It requires more individuality. It's less mechanical. Even today I still copy down sentences from books that give me support."


Frankfurter Rundschau 09.12.2009

The artist Parastou Forouhar, who lives in exile in Germany, has now been forbidden from leaving Iran, reports Hamid Ongah. Fououhar's parents, who were members of the opposition in Iran under the Shah, were murdered by the secret service agents in front of their house in 1998. Her mother, Parwaneh Forouhar, was found with 25 knife wounds in the chest. "Their daughter Parastou Forouhar has since kept up a gruelling fight to have the crime investigated. She travels to Iran every November to organise a memorial day for her parents. But while in Tehran this weekend, she was told that she would not be able to leave the country again."


Die Zeit 10.12.2009

The poet Durs Grünbein attempts to fathom the provocative power of Markus Lüpertz's sculptures (people have thrown buckets of paint over them), which are currently on show in a retrospective at Bonn's Bundeskunsthalle. Grünbein believes it has to do with the viewer's deep-seated repression: "Perhaps the sculptures exude such droll grandeur and cheeriness because they are wise to mankind's pettiness and small-mindedness. It would not be the worst job for a work of art to be the receptacle for affects that need to be purged from the body like toxins, in the spirit of old fashioned blood-letting. Is it because his sculptures all have something big sisterly about them? They are creatures whose greatest weakness is their fertility, their excess of life, an air of devotion that makes people want to hit them."


Perlentaucher 10.12.2009

The Securitate problem is by no means over, explains novelist Mircea Cartarescu, in an interview with the film magazine Cargo that Perlentaucher publishes online. "Only one part (of the Securitate agents) dealt with dissidents and opened files on the people. Most Securitate members were working in business, the entire economy was in their hands, particularly the foreign trade of state-owned companies. Securitate people could be found anywhere there was money. So it was not just a group of people who spied on and imprisoned dissidents. What we are dealing with here are the accountants of the state. That, and an army of informants. Now we have institutions which are responsible for opening the lid on the old system, but these institutions don't work, they are manipulated by politics, or rather they manipulate political life themselves."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10.12.2009

Hubert Spiegel was at a conference in Munich where Romanian authors such as Franz Hodjak and Richard Wagner (Herta Müller was in Stockholm collecting her prize) met to discuss their Securitate files. The poet Werner Söllner (more here) was also there and admitted to having been a Securitate informant. Spiegel was amazed that this didn't provoke more hostility. "No one condemned Söllner. And no one spoke out about what must have weighed most heavily on the minds of those affected: Söllner worked for the Securitate interpreting the poetry and prose of his friends and fellow writers. This German studies scholar, who wrote his thesis on the early work of Paul Celan, helped his commanding officers to understand what the verses really meant, what they were referring to and what hidden references they contained. How could anyone have forced him to to do this?"


Süddeutsche Zeitung 11.12.2009

Switzerland, according to German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani, has a fundamentalist problem. But it's not an Islamic one. "When the largest and - thanks to its front man - financially strongest party in Switzerland advertises its cause with posters that use the visual language of Der Stürmer, when their official website features a game where you can shoot imams, when former liberal papers start using the sort of arguments and even some of the stereotypes of Nazi propaganda against Muslims, it becomes very clear that it's not only Islam that has a problem with hate preachers. The western version of fundamentalism as a cultural rather than religious or ethnic ideologisation, has become an inner-European challenge, as the growing influence of populist right-wing parties in countries like Austria, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands demonstrates.

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