Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010) was involved with a range of disciplines—including installation, film, theater, opera, and television—and created provocative works that stirred controversy and challenged the status quo. His well-known “German trilogy” consisted of the feature films 100 Years of Adolf Hitler (1988–89), The German Chainsaw Massacre (1990), and Terror 2000—Intensive Care Unit Germany (1992). Together, these works approached 20th-century German history in a nonlinear fashion and combined it with the blood and gore of B-movies. Amplifying his critical look at national politics, Schlingensief organized an action during Documenta 1997 in which he carried a banner with the phrase “Kill Helmut Kohl!” which led to his arrest. Additionally, he established the political party Chance 2000 that blurred the lines between politics and theater.
Though Schlingensief’s work provoked strong reactions, it was also strongly rooted in art and culture. He directed plays by Shakespeare and operas by Wagner, and was deeply influenced by Joseph Beuys, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and the Viennese Actionists. Not beholden to any one medium, Schlingensief insisted on moving between genres and disciplines, to such an extent that he sought to establish Opera Village Africa, an institution that included a school, opera, and clinic in Burkina Faso.
Christoph Schlingensief began using a Super 8 camera at the age of eight and proceeded to make more than 50 films. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, at such institutions as Haus der Kunst, Munich; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Migros Museum, Zurich. In 2011, he posthumously represented Germany at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion.
Christoph Schlingensief is organized at MoMA PS1 in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
The exhibition is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator-at-Large, The Museum of Modern Art; Anna-Catharina Gebbers, Independent Curator; and Susanne Pfeffer, Artistic Director at the Fridericianum, Kassel; in collaboration with Filmgalerie 451, Berlin.
Artistic advisor: Aino Laberenz/Estate of Christoph Schlingensief
The exhibition is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.
Additional funding is provided by Harald Falckenberg.
Special thanks to Bumat Turntables, Germany.