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07/12/2005

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, 07.12.2005

In a full-page interview on conflicting political models in the USA and Europe, British historian Tony Judt has absolutely nothing good to say about either the USA or Britain. And as for the new German government which is seeking reconciliation with the USA, he comments: "I think Angela Merkel distorts the picture because she's an Ossi. It makes no difference whether you take the daughter of an East German pastor, a Polish intellectual like Adam Michnik or the son of the Czech bourgeoisie like Vaclav Havel – they all have the same instinct, and this is basically the reversal of the old communist instinct. It was clearly observable in the Iraq War. In the East, there is this instinctive desire to believe in the good in Washington and to presume that anyone who is critical of Washington has dishonourable motives. The argumentation is always that if you believe in human rights and freedom, you have to be for the invasion of Iraq. Havel insisted that it was an inseparable unity, he had to support the overthrow of dictators as a matter of principle, otherwise he would be betraying Prague's own past."


Die Welt, 07.12.2005


German artist Gregor Schneider first wanted to show his huge black cube, which looks like the Kaaba in Mecca, at the Venice Biennale. But he was prevented even from exhibiting the exchange of letters between himself and the city's authorities. Schneider's latest plan is to erect the cube in front of the Hamburger Bahnhof art museum in Berlin. But Peter Klaus Schuster from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Association is opposed to the idea, and it looks as if Schneider's project will be vetoed again. Uta Baier asks: "A museum which is prepared to show the collection of the Flick heir Friedrich Christian Flick for seven years despite massive protest, attacks and calls for resignations (news story), shouldn't shy away from a few religious discussions. Or is it as Schneider assumes: that fear of terror influences artistic freedom?"


Frankfurter Runschau, 07.12.2005

With all the zeal of the avant-garde, Peter Weibel, the curator of the "Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht" (light art from artificial light) exhibition in Karlsruhe's ZKM museum, pronounced the show to be "the largest, probably the most beautiful and most poetic exhibition on light art ever". Mirja Rosenau agrees that it is the largest: "You get the impression that they simply asked all the galleries and collectors to send anything they had that had something to do with light and lighting. And the lamps by Jorge Pardo, Jeppe Hein, Tobias Rehberger, Zaha Hadid and Simon Starling, or the neon texts by Tracey Emin, Peter Friedl, Cerith Wyn Evans or Sylvie Fleury might in themselves, when seen individually, convey a delightful something that is more than just lighting. But when they are hung without any apparent order and with no curatorial commentary, you just get the feeling of being lost in a light shop."


Die Tageszeitung, 07.12.2005


Esther Buss writes a lengthy piece on the major Dada exhibition in the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Delighted at the "fat, multilingual encyclopaedia of one of the most radical, and above all most expansive avant-garde movements of the 20th century", Buss comments: "The often absolutist character of Dadaism is reflected in the movement's preferred genre: the manifesto. The absolute determination of the Dada members to divest themselves of their thoughts led to a true publishing fever. (...) Hundreds of graphic designs, sketches and notes on the planned 'Dadaglobe' are assembled in a vitrine that seemingly never wants to end. Somehow, in the veritable swarm of letters and typographic characters, you suddenly get the feeling that everything is in movement. There is nothing at all dusty or fusty about the documents here on display."


Berliner Zeitung, 07.12.2005

Sebastian Preuss reports on a show of paintings by Swiss artist Frank Nitsche at the Max Hetzler gallery in Berlin. "You have to look deep into Nitsche's paintings and follow his strokes sweep for sweep, leaving no trace or scratch, no drops of colour unstudied. Nothing here is content, all is form... The Veronese Green that appears so often in Nitsche's newest paintings is a calculated reflection on the history of art. 'Green was frowned upon in the modern era, an unwanted, disrespected colour. That's why I find it so interesting.'" Although void of narrative elements, the works reflect images collected by the artist. "Nitsche shows photo albums he's carefully compiled over 15 years. They show car accidents, people in crises, bodily abnormalities, details from science and industrial design, grotesque images from Pop and the world of consumerism. From these impressions, as well as from his huge running shoe collection and the absurd plastic kitsch objects he's brought back from his travels, he develops swinging, crumpled, compressed or bursting formations of colour."

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