Performance with 2 performers, 2 musicians
5-ch audio, 2-ch video, 40 min, 2010
What happens when the German artist Gerhard Richter and the jailed journalist turned terrorist Ulrike Meinhof are placed in the same room?
Richter/Meinhof-Opera has its origins in the controversial painting series 'October 18, 1977' by Gerhard Richter. The paintings depict scenes surrounding the apparent suicides of jailed members of the notorious Baader/Meinhof Gang responsible for a deadly campaign to overthrow the West German establishment.
Derived from archival newspaper photographs, the paintings caused a sensation when first exhibited in Germany in 1989. Richter’s technique rendered the images ambiguous, his intentions obscure.
Drawing on the writings of both Richter and Meinhof and records of actual events, this intimate performance artwork is set to a series of compelling soundscapes by Chesworth.
Richter/Meinhof-Opera entangles art with politics, the real with the ritualised and the personal with the State.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, part of the Melbourne Festival visual art program (2010); and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2012).
Direction, Music and Sound Design:
Project Curator and Photography:
Creative Development colleagues:
Luisa Hastings Edge
David Chesworth from the writings of Gerhard Richter, Ulrike Meinhof and Bertolt Brecht
Lighting: Travis Hodgson
Costumes: Anna Cordingley
Video: Bruce Permezel
Stage Manager: Amy Turton
Supported by Arts Victoria, Australia Council, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Art Gallery of New South Wales. Location filming at National Gallery of Victoria.
'A multimedia installation with forays into music and voice, it's an interrogation of art's process, dramatising the ways in which art's subject (and so often the terrorist's object) lies forever beyond its grasp . . . Opening with Meinhof (Kate Kendall) reading from her manifesto, it dissolves into an expressionistic sequence intended to capture the psychic effect of Meinhof's solitary confinement . . . Enter Richter (Hugo Race), whose painstaking approach to art is sung... A cultivated, erudite and disorienting journey.'
– Cameron Woodhead, The Age, 19 October, 2010