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Intriguing Art in Sydney, Postdam and London

Intriguing Art in Sydney, Postdam and London
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Boltanski’s ‘Chance’ on show in Sydney

He is famous for his highly personal work exploring memory, loss, birth and death.

Influential French artist Christian Boltanski is on show at the Sydney Festival, one of Australia’s major art events, with this surprising installation resembling a printing press streaming hundreds of photographs of newborn babies.

Every eight minutes, an alarm rings and a random photograph is projected on a screen, illustrating Boltanski’s idea of chance – the title of his work:

“One day I thought that if I am what I am, it’s because my parents made love at this precise moment. If they had made love two seconds after, I should be totally different. I should probably be a girl or in any case totally different,” says the artist.

The show first went on display at the 2011 Venice Biennale and has also been to the Netherlands and Brazil. Boltanski likens his artworks to a piece of orchestral music, which produce a different result each time it is played.

Weighing 20 tonnes and measuring 50 metres, the installation is on show at the Carriageworks art gallery in Sydney until the end of March.

Hitler portrait causes row in parliament

To Germany now, where the opening of the new state parliament in Brandenburg, outside Berlin, has been overshadowed by a row over an exhibition that includes a portrait of Adolf Hitler.

As part of the interior decor of the parliament, German painter Lutz Friedel was commissioned to paint 112 images of historical figures.

These include Holocaust victim Anne Frank, writer Franz Kafka and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Among them, Friedel chose to include German comedian Helge Schneider as Adolf Hitler in the film ‘My Führer’.

The painter said he selected images of people who had impressed him in a positive or negative way. He said his shadowy image of Schneider as Hitler was intended to trigger a discussion about the limits of presenting the dictator in a human light.

“Next to Hitler, you see portraits of German RAF terrorists – they are part off the post-war history which itself was a result of Hitler’s reign – we also have the German poet Heinrich von Kleist, whose demise was linked to society at the time… I am not here to give lectures and I don’t have all the answers, what I do is ask questions I have always asked myself – my goal is to trigger dialogue,” said Lutz Friedel.

A request by the Conservatives to have the paintings removed was outvoted by the ruling left-wing coalition, who argued that would represent a form of censorship.

London celebrates Dada darling Hannah Höch

In the UK capital London, the Whitechapel Gallery is paying homage to Dada darling “Hannah Höch”.

The show features around 120 works by the German pioneer, who was the driving force behind the “collage technique”.

An artistic movement born out of World War I, Dadaism went by the rule that there were no rules.

“We are delighted to show the first ever UK exhibition of the famous and rebellious Dada artist Hannah Höch. Hannah Höch was one of the most significant and pivotal artists to pioneer the art form of collage, the cutting out of paper to create new forms from the debris, the flotsam and jetsam of our mass media society,” says the exhibition’s curator, Daniel Herrmann.

Höch, whose work was branded ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis, was a firm believer in artistic freedom.

Her art questions conventional concepts of beauty and the making of art, using collage as a key medium for satire and exploring the idea of the so-called ‘New Woman’ in post-World War One Germany.

The Hannah Höch exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Gallery runs until the end of March.