From the Feuilletons


Südeutsche Zeitung 06.07.07

Willibald Sauerländer is delighted with "Cindy Sherman," the major Berlin retrospective of photographs in which the artist portrays herself in different guises. "The museum gives a so to speak archival presentation of these dazzling travesties, hanging them up one after the next like stamps or posters. In so doing, it brings out the obsessive quality of these empty, bloodless, almost lifeless postmodern metamorphoses. It's fascinating to see how the mostly young crowd recoil at these opaque images. Precisely this sort of archiving lays bare Sherman's work, showing it as the career-long demonstration of moribund, absent, deadened communication that it is. These are images of a psychic state that allows neither a you nor a we, and recognises solely the captive state of the I. They cry out for attention as metaphorical, figurative reflections. With very few exceptions, the physiognomies are speechless. Free of emotion, impulse or furrowed brows, they often seem made of celluloid."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06.07.2007

Why do German academics and scientists speak English even at conferences in Germany? Biophysicist and author Stefan Klein warns of the dangers behind this trend: "How can academics be understood by a society to which they're not even connected by language? Soon we may not be able to discuss the results of new research for lack of words. Society is menaced with a split between those who use an elite language on the one hand, and on the other everyone else, who miss out on current developments. Whether German remains an academic language or not is not just a question of national pride. What's at stake is democracy."

Edward Beauchamp dwells on the thesis posited by documenta 12 that modernity is our antiquity. For him this is the art market trying to keep Modernism and its myths alive, long after its sell-by date. "An ageing Modernism has congealed into a closed system. Renaissances, so it seems, are only possible using the resources of one's own century. There is no Avant-garde in sight to break free of this vicious circle. Other turn-of-the-centuries pulsed with contradictory impulses and rebels, secessions and counter movements. All that now remains of such rumblings is the hustle and bustle of business and the feeble attempts to reignite provocations and culture-revolutionary strategies that have already been repeated hundreds of times, and if possible to top them once more. A system petrified with age is attempting a final somersault to give the impression of indestructible youthful vigour and elasticity."

Die Welt 06.07.2007

"Kapitulation" is the title of the new album by German band Tocotronic and for singer Dirk von Lowtzow, the most beautiful word in the German language. For Michael Pilz this, their eighth album, is "more than just a new record, it's a "manifesto that ends with the unremitting litany 'Kein Wille triumphiert' (no will triumphs). Anyone who leaves the CD on this note will not just turn his back on neo-liberal ethics of achievement because he can't be arsed. But because as a German, he is plagued by historical conscience." It is the kind of record that "one listens to with growing panic, asking oneself not if the record is any good, but if one is living one's life properly." - let's talk european