Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst

Lutz Dammbeck

07 Mar - 28 Jun 2015

© Lutz Dammbeck
Plakat Mediencollage REALFilm, 1985
Photo: Karin Plessing
Herakles Konzept (1977-1987)
7 March - 28 June 2015

Film Photo Book Action

In 1984 Lutz Dammbeck (born in 1948 in Leipzig) brought together all his assemblages of newspaper cuttings, archive material and photographs, his films or rather media-collages of painting, dance, film and music, his installations, images, photographs and texts under the title “Herakles Konzept” (“Hercules Concept”). A permanently-evolving total work of art, the Herakles Konzept became the central theme around which Lutz Dammbeck’s work continues to revolve today. It was inspired by three literary texts: Das eigensinnige Kind (“The Obstinate Child“) a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Herakles 2 oder die Hydra (“Hercules 2 or the Hydra”) (1972) by Heiner Müller and Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (“The Aesthetic of Resistance”) by Peter Weiss. The three parts of the latter novel were published in 1975, 1978 and 1981 in West Germany and it was published as a complete edition in the GDR in 1983.

Whereas the obstinate child represents the individual seeking to evolve in opposition to social conventions and heteronomy and to live under his own responsibility, Heiner Müller’s Hercules is a mythical figure roaming a forest which represents social power structures and their determination of mankind and thus our implication in the system. For Peter Weiss, on the other hand, Hercules symbolises the longed-for liberation of humanity, or rather the comprehensive self-emancipation of the oppressed. Weiss derived his models for the appropriation of the proletarian struggle against oppression from art and literature.

The antique figure of Hercules – half human, half god – provides Dammbeck with a framework for his analysis of culture, history, art, power, philosophy and science. His subject is the personal responsibility of the individual to stand up for artistic freedom and individual autonomy against the dissolution of individuality in the interests of other authorities.

The exhibition traces the origins and development of the Herakles Konzept from 1977 to 1987 and in so doing gives an overview of the works Lutz Dammbeck produced, despite censorship and restrictions, in the GDR before he left the country in 1986. On show are the works that gave rise to the Herakles Konzept, or rather that constitute evidence of it, such as actions, performances or film documentation of the media-collages La Sarraz (1981), Herakles (1985) and REALFilm (1986). Exhibits include notes and the storyboard for the media-collage Herakles along with props like costumes and a light rod, the original graphic book for REALFilm as well as collages.

The exhibition is completed by works developed in the run-up to the project and documentation of the art scene in which Dammbeck participated in the GDR, for example the artists‘ newspaper Originalgrafische Faltblätter (Original Graphic Flyer) (1976) or single issues of original graphic newspapers containing contributions by Lutz Dammbeck, as well as by a selection of his films. In recent years Dammbeck’s work, alongside large museum installations like those in the Hamburger Kunsthalle (2006 and 2009), the Art Academy of Berlin (2007), the art space in the German parliament (2012) or the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2013), has mainly consisted of long documentary films. In which he employs research and collage as artistic media, for example in the films Das Meisterspiel (1998) (“The Master Play”) or Das Netz (2003) (“The Net”).

Part of the Herakles Konzepts is the website conceived by Lutz Dammbeck herakleskonzept.de
See also: Website on the film The Net, 2003: t-h-e-n-e-t.com
Kindly supported by the Archiv Bildende Kunst der Berliner Akademie der Künste, which gave loans for the exhibition from its extensive LUTZ DAMMBECK ARCHIV/HERAKLES KONZEPT.

Tags: Lutz Dammbeck