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Christoph Schlingensief to Design German Pavilion Artist for Venice Biennial
Christoph Schlingensief will represent the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennial 2011. Photo: Perfect Shot Films GmbH.
FRANKFURT AM MAIN.- Christoph Schlingensief has accepted the invitation by the Commissioner of the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennial 2011, Dr. Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main.

Christoph Schlingensief is currently busy with rehearsals in Berlin for his VIA INTOLLERANZA II project, which takes as its starting point the action opera “Intolleranza 1960” by Italian composer Luigi Nono and which Schlingensief considers a research project accompanying his project for an opera village in Burkina Faso in West Africa. The performance will be on stage in Brussels as of mid-May and then move on to Hamburg, Vienna and Munich.

With the German Pavilion, Schlingensief is tackling what is for him yet another new task. Christoph Schlingensief commented on his acceptance as follows: “That is a fantastic surprise. I have worked in many areas, as a film, theater and opera director, as a producer, as a stand-up entertainer, as a person, and that includes as a sick person and Christ, not to mention as a politician and performer, and I have always been interested in artists who pursue their art almost obsessively, and in the process do not necessarily distinguish between the compulsion to have to live and the compulsion to want to live. My work and my life have always been typified by a kind of schizophrenia. If I were only immersed in one thing, then I would get bored, my brain would not get going. Between the music and the image, the person and the language, the healthy and the infirm, the joyful and the sad, I must always have the opportunity to claim the opposite. I do not believe in the world being unequivocal. The task of using the German Pavilion, a dubiously ostentatious building, not for representative purposes but for artistic purposes, is just the right thing: a weighty burden. But art makes what is otherwise heavy light.

Perhaps that is exactly what is good about it. At any rate, I love the fissures and contradictions and in the coming months I will find out which contradiction are most productive for Venice, the German Pavilion and Burkina Faso.”

Dr. Susanne Gaensheimer adds: “For almost 30 years now Christoph Schlingensief has been focusing wholeheartedly and in a radically direct manner on the cultural, social and political state of Germany. In his films, plays, opera productions and art actions he has always relied on the greatest possible range of media and, forever in an unforeseen way, has permanently ridden the line dividing reality and fiction, careful staging and improvization, consistent conviction and provocation; in the process he has developed his very own form of moral and human sensitivity. With his project to found an opera village in Burkina Faso, Schlingensief is imbuing the idea of the national with a cosmopolitan dimension.

I consider him one of the country’s truly important artists and can imagine that thanks to his artistic vision the idea of national representation will be transformed and the German Pavilion may become a place of communication and cosmopolitan activity.”

The exhibition in the German Pavilion is commissioned by the German Foreign Ministry and is realized in cooperation with Institute of Foreign Affairs (ifa).


Venice Biennial 2011 | Christoph Schlingensief | Dr. Susanne Gaensheimer |


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