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Rudolf herz
Szeemann and Lenin Crossing the Alps
Documentaire | hdv | couleur | 18'46'' | Allemagne | 2019
An unusual cooperative project between curator and artist was set in motion by Harald Szeemann and Rudolf Herz in the summer of 2003. Their ultimate goal was to produce a film. Now – more than ten years after Szeemann's death – the film is ready to be shown. Harald Szeemann had invited Rudolf Herz to present the project “Prologo sul Lago Maggiore” at the exhibition “G 2003. Mostra internazionale d'Arte all'aperto” in Ascona, Switzerland: a mobile monument consisting of granite busts from the dismantled Lenin monument in Dresden (in former East Germany), which is tied down on a semitrailer. It was a preliminary project for the “Lenin on Tour,” a Europe-wide monument touring event Herz staged the following year under the motto “I show Lenin to my contemporaries. And the 21st century to Lenin. Who will explain it to him?” In turn, Rudolf Herz suggested to present a performance together: He invited Harald Szeemann to join him in the driver's cabin on the long “Prologo” trip and express his thoughts on Lenin. Both Szeemann's discourse on the topic and the journey across the Alps were filmed. The videotapes were long lost and only recently rediscovered. The concept of the film is an interweaving of the surreal and yet very real slow-moving Alpine crossing of the huge vagabonding monument and Szeemann's contemplations on whether or not Lenin had ever been on Monte Verità, the mythenshrouded hill, the center for society's dropouts, back-to-nature lifestyle reformers and Anarchists at the Lago Maggiore around 1900. Szeemann, whose grandfather had been Lenin’s barber in Bern, talks about today at the beginning of the new millennium: about art and politics, about the world situation after the Fall of the Berlin Wall and about the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This was one of the last lengthy talks Szeemann delivered that was recorded before his death in February 2005. Harald Szeemann (1933–2005) was a Swiss curator, artist, and art historian. Having curated more than 200 exhibitions many of which have been characterized as groundbreaking, such as Live In Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969), Happening and Fluxus (1970), Documenta 5 (1972). Szeemann is said to have helped redefine the role of an art curator.
Rudolf Herz (born 1954) is a German sculptor and media artist living in Munich. He was awarded several art prices and grants including the renowned Villa Massimo scholarship in Rome in 1995. Herz’ artistic interest focuses on highly sensitve historical topics and their relation to the present time. In 1997 he was a laureate in the competition for the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" (1997). Herz is most renowned for his installation “Zugzwang” which was internationally exhibited, including at The Jewish Museum, New York in 2002. One of his most recent works is a radio play (“Desperados or Hitler goes tot he movies“) about a lost anti-revolutionary film from 1919 which Herz could produce with the national broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk.