From the Feuilletons


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21.04.2006

Andrej Dinko, chief editor of the now-banned Belarussian newspaper Nasa Niva, appeals for solidarity from abroad and describes the dire predicament of the Belarussian language and identity: "The last independent newspaper in the Belarussian language has been closed down. The last Belarussian-language high school has been closed. Radios and television stations boycott rock groups that sing in Belarussian. The writers' association is being disbanded. (...) A standardised Soviet identity is being forced on the Belarussian people. It's no longer just a matter of saving Nasa Niva or the independent press. What's at stake is the survival of the Belarussian cultural identity."

Mark Siemons interviews Yu Hua, one of China's major contemporary authors, on China today and the influence of the Cultural Revolution. The movement, which commenced 40 years ago, is the backdrop of Yu's most recent novel "Xiong Di" (brothers). "In those days there was practically nothing to read. In my novel the two brothers hunt for books and instead they find a red high-heeled shoe. That really happened to me. We'd never seen anything like it, and racked our brains: what on earth is it? We'd only seen cloth shoes. It was evidently a remnant from former times, an artifact from before the founding of the People's Republic. Is this thing just a shoe? we asked ourselves, or something else? Then by chance I did manage also to find a couple of books that hadn't yet been completely destroyed. But they weren't complete. Either the beginning was missing, or the end. A couple of pages disappeared with every reader, and they just kept on getting thinner."
Yu Hua reads at the House of World Cultures on Tuesday, April 25.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.04.2006

An antiques smuggling ring with connections to England and America has been uncovered on a island in the Greek Cyclades, Susanne Bausinger reports. "A few days ago in a remote villa on Shinoussa, police discovered antique goods which came partly from illegal excavations and partly from auctions: some of the objects were loaded in containers marked 'Southeby's' and 'Christie's'. They also found entire albums full of photos of antique objects, and a workshop for carving marble statues where fakes were evidently manufactured.... Ninety-nine objects have been taken to Piraeus and museums in Athens, among them Mycenaean amphoras, two granite sphinxes, an Egyptian alabaster pitcher, Corinthian column tops, Byzantine icons as well as Roman copies of a life-sized marble Aphrodite, possibly the work of Praxiteles, absolutely priceless."

Andrian Kreye was inspired by an exhibition of African photography in New York to draw attention to a fresh wind in African contemporary art and music. "The continued dominance of the cassette tape in the music industry restricts the use of all the sound effects that define western pop music. The culmination of this is the music of the group Konono No. 1, who in the entertainment districts of Kinshasa use cheap microphones to amplify and distort the sound of traditional flick books to produce a rattling, psychedelic wall of sound which their record label, for want of anything better, have labelled Congotronics. Similarly, the Congolese Soukouss style has adapted its sound to the tinny African car and transistor radios. Stars like Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide construct their hits out of screeching guitar riffs and propulsive marching drums. And it's a magic formula – Soukouss is the first pan-African pop culture."

Die Welt, 21.04.2006

The exhibition about the Zero art group in Dusseldorf's Museum Kunst Palast won't be a "dusty deja vu" even for the most committed devotees of Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Otto Piene, promises Marion Leske. "And it's not some moth-eaten local Dusseldorf artefact either. 'Zero' shows the international avantgarde of the Sixties. Largely unknown in this country is the contribution of the Japanese, who injected invigorating and idiosyncratic components into the game. They liked things a little more colourful than their European counterparts, and provided many an eye-opener. Yayoi Kusama's surreal rowing boat with its bizarre white protuberances was particularly striking and Atsuko Tanaka's electric dress was just mind boggling." - let's talk european