Kunsthaus Bregenz

Anfang gut. Alles gut.

16 Jul - 16 Oct 2011

Transformella, Queen of Debris. Setting #3: the RepRap. Performance von Johannes Paul Raether, basso Berlin 2011; Foto: Albert Zecheru
ANFANG GUT. ALLES GUT.
Actualizations of the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun (1913)
16 July - 16 October, 2011

The Futurist opera Victory over the Sun, which received its premiere at the Lunapark Theater in St. Petersburg in 1913, attempted to “create a collective work based on language, painting, and music.” Its authors – the poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh, the composer and painter Michail Matjuschin, and the painter Kazimir Malevich – wished to construct an “anti-harmonious” work against the current of their time. This was in Czarist Russia in the years between industrial modernization and peasant ser fdom and after the attempted revolution of 1905. While in their enthusiasm for technology the Italian Futurists had already glorified machinery before World War I and brought it to bear against people, Russian Futurism took off from an idea of the future that seemed possible only by fundamentally deconstructing the as yet scarcely industrialized present.
Anfang gut. Alles gut. is the long-term project of an evergrowing group of currently forty international artists, musicians, architects, and writers who are picking up the threads of the past and actualizing them. Since 2008 those involved have drawn on the historical text and documentations of its performances as well as the opera’s reception history to develop formats translating the almost 100- year-old material in contemporary forms into the present. To begin with, the producers selected individual aspects of the opera, such as characters, costumes, stage set, text, music, or lighting and made them the starting point for their own artistic explorations.

The Futurist opera Victory over the Sun, which received its premiere at the Lunapark Theater in St. Petersburg in 1913, attempted to “create a collective work based on language, painting, and music.” Its authors – the poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh, the composer and painter Michail Matjuschin, and the painter Kazimir Malevich – wished to construct an “anti-harmonious” work against the current of their time. This was in Czarist Russia in the years between industrial modernization and peasant ser fdom and after the attempted revolution of 1905. While in their enthusiasm for technology the Italian Futurists had already glorified machinery before World War I and brought it to bear against people, Russian Futurism took off from an idea of the future that seemed possible only by fundamentally deconstructing the as yet scarcely industrialized present.
Anfang gut. Alles gut. is the long-term project of an evergrowing group of currently forty international artists, musicians, architects, and writers who are picking up the threads of the past and actualizing them. Since 2008 those involved have drawn on the historical text and documentations of its performances as well as the opera’s reception history to develop formats translating the almost 100- year-old material in contemporary forms into the present. To begin with, the producers selected individual aspects of the opera, such as characters, costumes, stage set, text, music, or lighting and made them the starting point for their own artistic explorations.

The exhibition at the KUB Arena from July–October 2011 shows the actualizations and/or new productions that arose above all during a one-month exhibition and event series at the basso Berlin in May 2011. In addition to presenting all the works hitherto produced – texts, installations, photographs, drawings, and compositions – an extensive accompanying program with performances, lectures, and workshops creates the opportunity to further explore the historical material in dialogue with the works and to grasp the contemporary relevance of Russian Futurism, its potential and its hazards.
The project Anfang gut. Alles gut. confronts the past with a present where nostalgia for revolutionary times is à la mode in high culture, exposing generally unfulfi lled political aims. Looking back to the Futurist opera Victory over the Sun is thus not looking back on a heroic event, for it did not herald the revolution four years before its provisional success. Rather the prerevolutionary Futurism the opera expresses is translated into the post-revolutionary mass-cultural present, where the clear outlines of artistic movements have long since ceased to be unambiguously discernible. Against this background Anfang gut. Alles gut. amalgamates individual artworks to explore the disharmonies of the Futurist original without staging it as a nostalgic glorification.

The producers involved: Katrin Bahrs (Hamburg), Thomas Baldischwyler (Hamburg), Roger Behrens (Hamburg), Mareike Bernien/Kerstin Schroedinger (Berlin/London), Ruth Buchanan (Berlin), Nine Budde (Berlin), Robert Burghardt (Berlin), Natalie Czech (Berlin), Yusuf Etiman (Berlin), Jean-Pascal Flavien (Berlin), Devin Fore (New York), Kirsten Forkert (London), Emma Hedditch (London), Fox Hysen/Susanne M. Winterling (Berlin), Oliver Jelinski (Berlin), Christiane Ketteler (Berlin), Anja Kirschner/David Panos (London), Kazimir Malevich (St. Petersburg), Nicholas Matranga (Berlin), Ruth May (Hamburg), Katrin Mayer / Heiko Karn (Berlin), Michaela Melián (Munich), Jan Molzberger (Berlin), Avigail Moss (Los Angeles), Andreas Müller (Berlin), Ulrike Müller (New York), Harald Popp (Hamburg), Johannes Paul Raether (Berlin), David Riff (Moscow), School of Zuversicht (Hamburg), Schroeter und Berger (Berlin), Jessica Sehrt/Jeronimo Voss (Frankfurt a. M.), Sieg of Sonne Orakel (Berlin), Amy Sillman (New York), Tillmann Terbuyken (Hamburg), Tschilp (Hamburg), Dimitry Vilensky (St. Petersburg), Marina Vishmidt (London), Peter Wächtler (Brussels), Ian White (Berlin / London).

The project was initiated by Eva Birkenstock, Nina Köller, and Kerstin Stakemeier.

A comprehensive catalogue supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin will document in book form with accompanying essays all the Anfang gut. Alles gut. projects, performances, and events to date (publication date: October 2011).
 

Tags: Ruth Buchanan, Nine Budde, Natalie Czech, Jean Pascal Flavien, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Anja Kirschner, Kazimir Malevich, Michaela Melián, Jan Molzberger, Ulrike Müller, David Panos, Amy Sillman, Jeronimo Voss, Peter Wächtler, Susanne M. Winterling