From the Feuilletons


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 25.02.2005

Karen Hellwig enthuses about the ehibition in the Hamburger Kunsthalle of rarely seen drawings and sketches from the Spanish masters from Luis de Vargas to Francisco Goya. The drawings are mostly studies and preparatory drawings for paintings. Spanish drawings are still a rarity in most large art collections and the Hamburg collection which boasts over 200 drawings is the largest outside Spain.
One of the show's highlights are the 13 drawings by Francisco Goya. Among them are black pastel sketches of the "Rise of a Hydrogen Balloon" from 1792/93, which chronicle the flight of Vincenzo Leonardi in Madrid's Buen Retiro park. "Seen alongside the vast Montolfiere, under a huge empty sky, the onlookers gazing in amazement at the balloon shrink into insignificance. Goya does not celebrate the rise of the balloon but transforms it into a menacing vision."
The exhibition "Hasta ... Goya!" runs until April 10.

Frankfurter Rundschau, 23.02.2005

Ina Hartwig comments on the decision of Hungarian author and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Imre Kertesz to leave the Suhrkamp publishing house and move to Rowohlt. For Suhrkamp this is a "bitter loss - and certainly not the first ithe publishers has had to face. Suhrkamp is to blame for Kertesz's decision." It was the former head of Suhrkamp and publishing legend Siegfried Unseld "who went to seek out Kertesz in Budapest and woo him with his 'rugby player's charm (...) Kertesz was unable to resist, nor did he put up a struggle. But obviously Suhrkamp has never found anyone to fill the gap left by Unseld's death." Suhrkampf has simply proved "incapable of holding on to Kertesz. Someone like Kertesz, and who could blame him, is predisposed to have publishers flocking to him, as Unseld knew only too well. And now Alexander Fest (of Rowolt) has sensed this - and not just sensed it. It is also a matter of competence."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23.02.2005

Thomas Wagner reviews the Gerhard Richter retrospective in Dusseldorf's K20 museum. In 1977 Richter wrote: "the underlying precondition for my new works is the same as ever: I have nothing to communicate, there is nothing to communicate, painting can never be communication, and the missing message will not materialise through hard work, defiance, lunacy or any other tricks." Almost 30 years later, the K20 exhibit remains a gesture without message, writes Wagner. "The exhibition shows that Richter's work has cast a fog of insecurity and doubt over the real, doggedly avoiding the gaze that seeks to pin it down and fathom its depths. What remains are delicately painted after-images of loss." Despite its many strengths Wagner's criticism is that the exhibition "lacked the courage to highlight Richter's later works, and to assess his entire oeuvre in their light. Looking backwards over Richter's earlier works would give them a fresh face that cannot emerge from a thematically curated show. Some of the rooms have a nostalgic feel, and the last works seem only to provide a routine conclusion."
The Gerhard Richter retrospective can be seen at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20 in Dusseldorf until 16 May. On 4 June it will travel to the Lenbachhause gallery in Munich. The catalogue, published by the Richter Verlag costs 29 Euros.

Berlin is the only city in the world with three subsidised opera houses, but also the only city which does not take pride in this heritage, relentlessly trying to make cuts. Yesterday, Michael Schindhelm was installed as the general director of all three houses, and Eleonore Büning comments: "Schindhelm has given half a dozen interviews in recent weeks in which he talked about his love of opera and described the artistic status of the three Berlin opera houses. But his statements have tended to be rather cloudy, short on facts and often contradictory. Moreover, he has failed to provide any concrete information about how he intends to accomplish the major task at hand. Namely to save 17.2 million Euros by 2009."

Die Tageszeitung, 23.02.2005

Dirk Knipphals reviews Wolfgang Kraushaar's study of Rudi Dutschke, the central figure of the '68 student revolt in Germany. The study, "Rudi Dutschke und der bewaffnete kampf" (Rudi Dutschke and the Armed Struggle), is published by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research in a volume dedicated to Dutschke, Andreas Baader and the Red Army Faction (RAF). Knipphals commends the author's avoidance of stereotyping the '68 movement "either as a wild time when people still believed in utopias, or as doom itself, when all values were thrown to the winds". Portraying the student leader in clear, unemotional language, Kraushaar's study reveals that it was Dutschke who first developed the concept of the urban guerilla. "The concept of the urban guerilla, which was indispensable for the mental make-up of the RAF, is not just a product of the degeneration and despair of the '68 movement, as many believe. Rudi Dutschke had already created the concept in 1966, using theoretical fragments fom Che Guevara and Carl Schmitt's theory of the partisan." The study goes on to show how Dutschke distanced himself from the RAF violence in the early 70s. - let's talk european