From Bayreuth to Burkina Faso

Christoph Schlingensief’s Opera Village Africa as Postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk?

Sarah Hegenbart (Author),

Category: African Studies, Art, Artistic Practice, Postcolonial Studies

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462703582

Publication date: November 30, 2022

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Number of pages: 294

Size: 234 x 156 x 17 mm

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Category: African Studies, Art, Artistic Practice, Postcolonial Studies

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461664938

ISBN: 9789461664938

Publication date: November 30, 2022

€55.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 294

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The postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk: Disrupting the Eurocentric perspective on art history and addressing Germany’s colonial history

Opera Village Africa, a participatory art experiment by the late German multimedia artist Christoph Schlingensief, serves as a testing ground for a critical interrogation of Richard Wagner’s notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Sarah Hegenbart traces the path from Wagner’s introduction of the Gesamtkunstwerk in Bayreuth to Schlingensief’s attempt to charge the idea of the total artwork with new meaning by transposing it to the West African country Burkina Faso. Schlingensief developed Opera Village in collaboration with the world-renowned architect Francis Kéré. This final project of Schlingensief is inspired by and illuminates the diverse themes that informed his artistic practice, including coming to terms with the German past, anti-Semitism, critical race theory, and questions of postcolonial (self-)criticism.

From Bayreuth to Burkina Faso introduces the notion of the postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk to disrupt the Eurocentric perspective on art history, exploring how the socio-political force of a postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk could affect processes of transcultural identity construction. It reveals how Schlingensief translocated the Wagnerian concept to Burkina Faso to address German colonial history and engage with it from the perspective of multidirectional memory cultures.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Acknowledgements
Introduction Opera of Ambiguities
Chapter One Egomania – Germany Without Hope? Rectifying the impression that Schlingensief staged a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk at the Venice Biennial 2011
Chapter Two From Bayreuth to Burkina Faso: Stripping the Gesamtkunstwerk of its German coordinates
Chapter Three The Mission of a Contemporary Parsifal: Redeeming Germany in Burkina Faso
Chapter Four Revolving Opera and Psychic Interiors: The Animatograph
Chapter Five Readymade and Azione Scenica: Schlingensief’s Expanded Definition of Opera
Chapter Six Opera Village as postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk?
Conclusion The Gesamtkunstwerk: Smashed or revived?
Notes Bibliography Index

Sarah Hegenbart

Sarah Hegenbart is lecturer in art history at Technical University of Munich and previously acted as a substitute for the professorship of art research with a focus
on contemporary arts at the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK Braunschweig). She is a member of 'Die Junge Akademie Mainz' and member of the consortium of the Horizon 2020 research project ‘Art and Research on Transformations of Individuals and Societies’.

This is the first major study of the Opera village. The author has an excellent command not only of the scholarship on Schlingensief but also on Wagner, and all the current discussions on post-colonialism that continue to preoccupy the public sphere. It is an extremely timely contribution to a set of topical and also controversial discussions. Christopher Balme, LMU Munich

The author offers fresh theoretical
perspectives on Schlingensief’s work, as when they connect it to concepts such
as narcissism or dialogical images. Also the author’s great field research in
Burkina Faso and the first-hand interviews conducted there distinguish the book
from previous studies.
Ilinca Todorut, Babes-Bolyai University,
Cluj-Napoca

This book makes significant strides not only in understanding Schlingensief’s work in Africa but also in addressing the complexities when it comes to German-language theater in the Global South. - Katherine Pollock, German Studies Review, vol. 46 no. 3, 2023, p. 521-523. https://doi.org/10.1353/gsr.2023.a910200

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