From Bayreuth to Burkina Faso
Christoph Schlingensief’s Opera Village Africa as Postcolonial Gesamtkunstwerk?
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Monograph - ebookVIEW Monograph - paperback
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.
Format: Monograph - ebook
Publication: November 30, 2022
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
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