Alexander Kluge. Opera: The Temple of Seriousness

Opens on May 8, 2020
Extended until at least June 14, 2020

There are only a few places in cities
where SHARED AND PUBLIC GRIEF is possible. 

Alexander Kluge

In 2017, the Württembergischer Kunstverein dedicated an extensive solo exhibition to the author, filmmaker, and theorist Alexander Kluge. Music already played a central role at the time, an aspect that is deepened in the new project, a series of exhibitions that is taking place in parallel at three different venues—Stuttgart, Ulm, and Halberstadt.

The project interrogates the role of opera, which emerged (at the latest) in the seventeenth century, as a contemporary “temple of seriousness” (Kluge): as a place where the serious, grief, and joy can be expressed and losses mourned in a suitable way.

The exhibition in the domed hall of the Kunstgebäude in Stuttgart is an overall staging that combines a nine-part video installation with fragments of a stage set by Anna Viebrock and other elements. In addition, Katharina Grosse is presenting a “cinema” developed for the exhibition. She calls the table-sized object “atopic cinema.” A detail from Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s life as a cannoneer in the First World War is accompanied by a drawing by Ivan Syrov, a young artist from Stuttgart.

Three venues
At the Museum Ulm, the focus, with the title The Power of Music, is on the historical roots of opera. In Halberstadt, the city where Kluge was born, there is an exhibition, music, and film project titled Halberstädter Brennpunkte. It is closely connected with Kluge’s first encounter with opera, which is linked with the experience of the Third Reich, the bombing of Halberstadt on April 8, 1945, and the end of the war (Fru?hling mit Weißen Fahnen). The project at the Moses-Mendelssohn-Akademie in Halberstadt, which addresses mourning in operas by Jewish composers or with Jewish topics (Jacques Fromental Halévy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Jacques Offenbach, Der Golem by Eugen d’Albert, and the roots of Jewish music in the Talmud, as described by Gershom Sholem), also fits within this context.

With its direct proximity to the Staatsoper, the staging at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart with the title Opera: The Temple of Seriousness focuses on the Staatsoper and its outstanding role in modern opera, which has grown further since the era of the artistic director Klaus Zehelein. The exhibition addresses the question of whether and in what form the historical material of opera, the deep wind of history that seems to be so incontrovertibly breathed into it, can claim a connection to the present. The processes of modernity and the Enlightenment are violable. "Great reason falls in full armor." The exhibition project and Alexander Kluge refer in this connection to the "intelligence of emotions." Its biotope is an intact public sphere, to which both music and free opinion belong. Such a public sphere can "assist in producing a counter-algorithm to the power of the factual and the supremacy of the objective."

Further events

Museum Ulm and kunsthalle weishaupt, Ulm
Ocotber 20, 2019 ­- April 19, 2020 /

Gleimhaus Halberstadt, Moses Mendelssohn Akademie and other exhibition venues
November 10, 2019 ­- April 9, 2020

Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Alexander Kluge. Opera
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart