Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things
5 February–29 April 2012
4 February 2012, 16.00 hrs
followed by the film:
The African Twin Towers (2009)
‘t Hoogt, 19.30 hrs
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Lange Nieuwstraat 4, Utrecht
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst proudly presents the exhibition Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things with works by theater director, filmmaker, author, and artist Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010). Curated by Kathrin Rhomberg, the exhibition includes Schlingensief’s complex multimedia installation Animatograph—Iceland-Edition. (House of Parliament/House of Obsession) Destroy Thingvellir, 2005; a reconstruction through research documents of his infamous project Ausländer raus—Bitte liebt Österreich [Foreigners out—Please love Austria], 2000; and the film Das deutsche Kettensägenmassaker [The German Chainsaw Massacre], 1990. Together, the works attest to the artist’s endeavor to create a “Lebenskunstwerk”—a work of life-art, or an artwork that intervenes directly in life. Ever confronting the uncomfortable, these works reveal the mastery with which Schlingensief collapsed systems of art and politics through highly experimental means to arrive at an overwhelming sense of immediacy. Rather than placating viewers or forcing them to assume roles of consumers or spectators, he made a direct call to the public to take responsibility for the world as it is, and with this knowledge to think—and to act—otherwise.
In a disarming manner, Schlingensief’s practice holds a mirror to western society. By scratching off the cheap veneer that camouflages the ruthless capitalist democracy at reality’s core, he stripped the so-called West down to its fears, obsessions, and banal cruelties manifest in power and possession. The artist seriously challenged the world of Contemporary Art as it became known to us as a field of hegemonic practice developed in parallel to global neoliberalism over the last 20 years. Having resisted the field’s normalizing tendencies, working against its “business-as-usual” mode, and tirelessly advocating for the undoing of the dominant consensus in both art and politics, Schlingensief’s legacy can be seen as a provocative proposition—an urgent appeal even—to speculate about the possibility of another future.
As part of the Public Program for the exhibition, Matthias Lilienthal (director of Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin) presents the lecture Ausländer raus—Bitte liebt Österreich, or Christoph Schlingensief’s Big Brother container on 8 March 2012, 20.00 hrs at Het Utrechts Archief (Hamburgerstraat 28, Utrecht). In addition, the Film Program provides comprehensive insight into Schlingensief’s filmic oeuvre and reveals his radical liberation of the cinematographic image. The film schedule is as follows: 4 February, 19.30 hrs, The African Twin Towers (2009); 22 February, 19.30 hrs, 100 Jahre Adolf Hitler–Die letzte Stunde im Führerbunker [100 Years Adolf Hitler–The Last Hour in the Führerbunker] (part 1 of the “Germany Trilogy”) (1989) and My Wife in Five (1985); 29 February, 19.30 hrs, Terror 2000–Intensivstation Deutschland [Terror 2000–Germany out of Control] (part 3 of the “Germany Trilogy”) (1992); 14 March, 19.30 hrs, Freakstars 3000 (2003); and 28 March, 19.30 hrs, Für Elise (1982) and Egomania (1986). The Film Program takes place at Film Theatre ‘t Hoogt (Hoogt 4, Utrecht) and is realized in collaboration with Theatre ‘t Hoogt and Filmgalerie 451, Berlin. The program is subject to change; for more information please visit: www.hoogt.nl.
The research exhibition Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things and the accompanying Public Program are organized within the framework of the project FORMER WEST, an international research, education, publishing, and exhibition undertaking (2008–2014). For more information please visit: www.formerwest.org.
The project has been made possible by the generous support of Goethe Institut, Botschaft der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Den Haag and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna.
BAK opening hours
Wednesday–Saturday 12.00–17.00 hrs
Sunday 13.00–17.00 hrs
For further information, please contact:
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Lange Nieuwstraat 4
3512 PH Utrecht
T +31 (0)30 2316125
F +31 (0)30 2304866
Photo credits: Christoph Schlingensief, “Ausländer raus—Bitte liebt Österreich”, 2000. Photo collage: Paul Poet