Magazine article Artforum International

Christoph Schlingensief

Magazine article Artforum International

Christoph Schlingensief

Article excerpt

KW INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

The phrase "Spiel ohne Grenzen" (Game Without Borders), the subtitle of one of Christoph Schlingensief's many outrageous theatrical productions, succinctly characterizes what held the vast range of work together in this posthumous exhibition staged by Klaus Biesenbach, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, and Susanne Pfeffer, and traveling to MOMA PSI in New York this month. The manically prolific Schlingensief began his career as a filmmaker and morphed into a theater and opera director, TV-show moderator, pseudo politician, all-around provocateur, and finally artist before his untimely death at the age of forty-nine in 2010. Across mediums, Schlingensief was a consummate performer who dedicated himself to radical political engagement, always working at the tenuous boundary between fantasy and reality. The result was both a persona and a form of political theater, enacted on-screen and in the streets, that was at turns charming, crass, absurd, self-involved, and generous--while never losing its pointed (and pointedly unrigor-ous) social commentary.

Always devoted to the moving image, Schlingensief incorporated projections into all of his theatrical work, his 2008 installation Kirche der Angst (Church of Fear), and the series of four Animatograph installations that he constructed in 2005 and 2006. The version at KW, AnimatoRraph Edition Parsipark, 2005, originally shown in a former East German military facility, consists of a rotating platform topped with a ramshackle wooden structure covered in dusty detritus, paintings and drawings with obtuse Wagnerian references, images of Hitler, and film projections that envelop the space and the viewers exploring it. Schlingensief's forays into semiparticipatory installation art were surpassed, however, by his fully participatory, partially scripted reality-TV shows, all of which aired on German networks. Freakstars 3000 (2002), for example, played on the most exploitative tendencies of talent-seeking shows such as American Idol by casting exclusively physically and mentally handicapped "contestants." They undeniably appear to have had great fun shooting the six episodes of the series, but it is never clear whether we as viewers are laughing with them or at them. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.