Vive Les Enfants Terribles ! In Memory of Christoph Schlingensief


{ Schlingensief  (not) in the Volksbuehene }

” i hate theater. “

1960 – 2010 †

The master deconstructionist who would never keep his art within the walls, on a stage, in the cinema, or within reasonable limits…

Long Live The ENFant TERRible von Oberhausen !

Perhaps it will take some time for the english-speaking press and cultural spheres to fully grasp what Christoph Schlingensief is to the artworld. For the moment there is only a silly AP news wire blurb making the rounds w/ some of the least important facts which reach only as far as to link him to his Bayreuth and Manaus Opera moments, and to call him “controversial… with strong political messages.” Mind you, this is the auteur who was arrested at Documenta (1997) for a project now known as “Kill Helmut Kohl”(plakat). And then intervened in Vienna at the height of the Haider-dämmerung ( think Bushdom w/ slightly more naked xenophobia) with a live TV broadcast of an Austrian-version of Survivor, to vote selected (+ real) immigrants off the island. Staged in the country’s capital, from central square- Karlsplatz – during one of their most prestigious art festivals.

So while the XLterrestrials cannot adequately go into great depth of his life and ouvre which will anyway be better read in Germany’s major newspapers or those who from a far left can specialize in the challenging outer limits… ( links ). …if you can read German…

for those who don’t, these words can only provide a glimpse from just a handful of direct encounters, from his presentation at Berlinale in Hau Eins -2009- [ Xlt plog hier ],  Kaprow City at Volksbuehne – 2007 – [ XLt plog hier ] , and a handful of films.


{ Hau Eins Berlinale 2009 }

And that is more than enough to feel a deep sadness that Schlingensief’s alien and confrontational genius has been so short-lived. Stolen away from us by a tragic illness (lung cancer), he died at 49.

And we were extremely curious + inspired by his increasing migration from deconstructive to grand-scale constructive Actions, and perhaps it will be Africa who will now miss him most. He had incredible projects underway there. (more).

Today he is being reported with unanimous deep respect as one of Germany’s most important contemporary artists. Something that seems fairly unfathomable in US media culture. It would be like seeing the Yes Men getting their full due in The New York Times just after having had their editorial (warmongering) pants pulled down hard by the pranksters on Times Square… or at The Met.

We’ll try to come back for a greater view, but for now, perhaps he might be introduced (+ begin to be understood) by seeing how much he could provoke even the progressive critics of a cultural magazine like The New Yorker…  and here, try to imagine the elements you don’t get to see from the artist’s own coup d’etat point-of-view. Wagner’s Bayreuth in a still historically knee-deep fascist home turf getting slam dunked through a Lynchian-esque (+ Namibian) freakshow mirror! Exhibit A :  Nausea by Alex Ross.

And from ZDf ( auf deutsch), a wide-lens overview : Zum Tod Von Christoph Schlingensief

A quick image gallery:



And of course his website, blog , and his films at 451 fahrenhiet … AND WE JUST FOUND OUT he staged a piece called ROSEBUD at Volksbuehne in 2001… a looong trail of genius to absorb and investigate!

tbc… as time allows.

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