Horst Brandstätter and the Question of (Un) Freedom

Horst Brandstätter and the Question of (Un)Freedom

A Swabian Intellectual, Networker and cultural Mediator

July 10 - August 30, 2020

Exhibition and program by

Die Anstifter - Bürgerprojekte gegen Gewalt und Vergessen
Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg
Württembergische Landesbühne Esslingen

in cooperation with
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Natalie Reinsch

The exhibition shows Horst Brandstätter and his preoccupation with the themes of freedom and lack of freedom in the past and present in five exhibition areas: freedom and revolution, freedom and imprisonment, freedom of art vs. censorship, lack of freedom in psychiatry and free access to culture.

Freedom and Revolution

As early as the 1970s, Horst Brandstätter had already dealt with the revolutionary upheavals in Baden-Württemberg's history, such as the Peasants' War and the revolution of 1848/49. He not only wrote articles, but also motivated artist friends. Thus, Johannes Grützke created a three-part mural of the Hecker train on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the revolution in 1998. In the exhibition some objects about the creation of the mural are shown.

Freedom and Imprisonment

Horst Brandstätter's radio feature "Asperg - freedom lives on the mountains" from May 1977 was awarded the Schubart Literature Prize of the city of Aalen in 1978. His research on the history of the Württemberg fortress Hohenasperg was published as a book in the same year. The explosive nature of his preoccupation with the history of lack of freedom during the German Autumn is demonstrated by the fact that Horst Brandstätter came under the scrutiny of the investigating authorities as a supposed "sympathizer" of terrorism. The exhibition shows, among other things, the seizure certificate from the criminal investigation department and confiscated documents from Horst Brandstätter's apartment in the west of Stuttgart.

Freedom of art vs. Censorship

For Horst Brandstätter, the freedom of art, as it is also laid down in Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the German Constitution, was a great good. As early as 1974, as a freelancer, he critically reported in the "Stuttgarter Nachrichten" on the legal dispute between the author F. C. Delius and Siemens AG over Delius' documentary satire "Unsere Siemens-Welt". In 1987 Horst Brandstätter saw himself as a victim of censorship. In his speech at the opening of the room installation "Kaiser und Armenarzt. A Double Monument to Georg Kerner and Napoleon" by Ulrich Bernhardt, he criticized the fact that no monument was erected to the Swabian Jacobins, but a large sports hall was named after Hanns Martin Schleyer. This led to a public censorship dispute with the Gallery of the City of Stuttgart and Mayor Manfred Rommel. Brandstätter then published his speech, including correspondence with the gallery and the city of Stuttgart, as the "Stuttgart documenta" with Wendelin Niedlich.

Lack of freedom in Psychiatry

In the 1980s and 1990s Horst Brandstätter was heavily involved in the history of psychiatry in Württemberg. For example, he created a radio and a television feature entitled "Winnental - A German sanatorium". The exhibition shows excerpts from the film. Brandstätter dealt more intensively with some of the residents of the psychiatric hospital in Winnenden. For example, he wrote a book about the Swabian mass murderer Ernst Wagner and a play about the inventor of the energy law Robert Mayer.

Free access to Culture

In his work as an antiquarian Horst Brandstätter was concerned to convey collections to public institutions as a whole in order to make them accessible to the public. He convinced Porsche AG to donate the Franz Kafka Library, reconstructed by his antiquarian colleague Herbert Blank, to the Franz Kafka Society in Prague. Furthermore, he arranged for Hans Magnus Enzensberger's Landsberg poetry-vending machine to be given to Kunsthalle Würth, which made it available to the Literature Museum in Marbach on permanent loan.

Further information: www.ausstellung-brandstaetter.de



Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Horst Brandstätter
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart