Visions of Violence: German Avant-Gardes After Fascism

Visions of Violence: German Avant-Gardes After Fascism

by Richard Langston
     
 

ISBN-10: 0810124661

ISBN-13: 9780810124660

Pub. Date: 12/25/2007

Publisher: Northwestern University Press

Nazi Germany’s book burnings, its campaign against “degenerate art,” and its persecution of experimental artists pushed the avant garde to the brink of extinction.  How the avant-garde came back, finding a new purpose in the wake of the war, is the subject of Visions of Violence. 

        

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Overview

Nazi Germany’s book burnings, its campaign against “degenerate art,” and its persecution of experimental artists pushed the avant garde to the brink of extinction.  How the avant-garde came back, finding a new purpose in the wake of the war, is the subject of Visions of Violence. 

            An extreme faction of aesthetic modernity intent on bulldozing contemporary life, the avant-garde has regularly employed visions of violence in their push for societal and cultural renewal. But in the shadow of unparalleled war and genocide, such aesthetic violence lost its force. This book explores the reconfiguration of the avant-garde in response to the violent transformation of European reality. Citing the emergence of independent avant-garde practitioners in the place of the previous collective, Richard Langston considers six individual exemplars of Germany’s post-fascist avant-garde—works that span the last six decades: painter, writer, and filmmaker Peter Weiss’s appropriation of French surrealism in the fifties; writer Dieter Wellershoff’s coterie of “new realists”; artist Wolf Vostell’s mediation and conflation of the experiences of the Auschwitz trials and the Vietnam War; poet and novelist Dieter Brinkmann’s collages from the seventies; the multimedia displacements of Alexander Kluge; and the performative engagements of dramatists Christoph Schlingensief and Rene Pollesch.

Taking stock of the evolution of Germany’s post-fascist avant-gardes, Langston’s book shows how the movement from Weiss to Pollesch exhibits the problems that both modernity and postmodernity pose for an aesthetic engagement of Germany’s violent past.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810124660
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
12/25/2007
Series:
Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies Series
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
List of Abbreviations     xiii
Introduction: Visions of Violence     3
Deaths and Reconfigurations: Avant-Garde Time After Fascism     23
Peter Weiss and the Exilic Body     56
Nouveau Realisms: The Male Body and the Space of History     97
Holocaust Simulations: Evoking Bare Life     127
Technologies of Fascism and the Poetics of Silence and Light     163
Alexander Kluge's Impossible Film     195
Phantasmagorias of Normalcy: Avant-Gardes After Unification     229
Notes     257
Index     301

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