From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

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

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. - let's talk european