International News Digest

DECEMBER 5

Die Zeit has written an illuminating piece on the Institut für Raumexperimente (IfREx), an experimental program attached to Universität der Künste Berlin that is run by artist Olafur Eliasson. In this program, Eliasson and his students experiment, study, and create work about public space and perspective. But the program itself has perhaps generated less interest than the scholarship offered by the program to a political “representative of Berlin.” Eliasson’s stated goal was to “facilitate a direct communication between political and artistic practice via critical exchange in shared everyday life.” And his motto of the scholarship: “Politics is the art of the possible. Art is the politics of the impossible.” When few if any full-time politicians seemed interested, the scholarship ultimately went to the thirty-nine-year-old Guido Brendgens, who works as a researcher for the Left Party in the House of Representatives in Berlin. Brendgens is no stranger to IfREx’s program, having a PhD in architectural theory from the Technische Universität Dresden. He told Die Zeit about the beneficial effect that the coursework had on him, stating, “How we move about, meet as human beings and change the space—that is decisive. Art can clarify these actions, put them into relief, and change our habitual perceptions.” Eliasson, who seeks to construct a truly interdisciplinary program, said he was just as pleased by the politician’s participation.

The German prison complex Stammheim—most famous for being the site, in the German Autumn of 1977, where many members of the Red Army Faction were imprisoned, three of them allegedly committing suicide—is set to be demolished. German photographer Andreas Magdanz has an exhibition of large-format photographs of the cells and complex at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, providing a solemn coda to the historical moment. Magdanz received permission from the penal facility to shoot photographs in spaces including the cells where Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader were found dead. Die Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that, because of the relative paucity of German contemporary art which took up the subject––Richter’s 18 October 1977 and Feldman’s Die Toten being notable exceptions––this is quite a monumental show. The images are definitive documentation of not only the space but also of its now-extinct purpose, as well as of fate of those of who were involved in the Red Army Faction. The show will be on view at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart through March 2013.

The partnership between Deutsche Bank and the Guggenheim Museum has come to a close in Berlin, and the bank has decided to turn the space they had shared into a kunsthalle with international programing. The 1,200-square-foot building, according to Monopol, has served as a Guggenheim satellite for the last fifteen years. But now head Deutsche Bank financial officer Stefan Krause claims that the bank wants to “position itself more widely and more internationally.” In return for its partnership, the Guggenheim received sponsorship for eighteen artists’ commissions that were eventually added to the museum’s collection. The Süddeutsche Zeitung gives a Spring 2013 date for the opening of Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle. It plans to exhibit four shows a year––having already announced two: a solo show featuring Imran Qureshi and one curated by Victoria Noorthhoorn. Details about the other two have not yet been announced, but with the museum’s advisory board comprising the likes of Udo Kittelmann, Okwui Enwezor, and Hou Hanru, the shows promise to involve international partnerships with other arts institutions.

There is both an American and German version of the “Next Top Model” franchise, so naturally a Franco-German analog of the art reality contest for Bravo “Work of Art,” was the next step—though Alles für die Kunst! (Everything for Art!) seems like a less pessimistic version of the US television series that had people both cringing and faithfully tuning in. Norbert Bisky, painter of the hard-bodied, acts as mentor to seven young artists from Germany, France, and Belgium, and evaluates work alongside with collectors Christiane zu Salm and Peter Raue. The winner will present his or her work at Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe. Die Zeit sees the program as a smart adaptation of a talent show, which seeks to reveal how the system works rather than finding the “next art superstar.”

Hungarian author and artist Péter Nádas’s show at Kunsthaus Zug has already ended, but it came with good news: The artist’s entire photographic oeuvre, comprising of over 600 works made from 1960 to 2003, will be donated to the Kunsthaus, reports Neue Zürcher Zeitung. This includes his two enormously influential series, “History of Shadows” and “History of Light.”