100 Years of Communism

People have always dreamt of a better world with more justice. Communism promised to make that dream come true. The Russian Revolution of autumn 1917 made communism become real for the first time – with all its best-known consequences for Russia, Europe and the world. At the end of the 1980s, when communism in Eastern Europe was about to fade, hardly anyone mourned about its disappearance. Political realities had fundamentally discredited the communist idea. Free market economy along with democracy seemed to have prevailed as the best of all systems and presented itself as the one solution without alternatives. However, is the world we live in good? Or do we need to think about alternatives in respect of the global social and economic distortions? Does it help to cast a look back in history to develop a new vision for the future? What kind of society do we want – and which one should we better reject? And where if not in Weimar, where the past is an integral part of our present, should such topics be put for discussion? At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Kunstfest Weimar initiates a search for traces by means of international theater and dance performances, concerts, exhibitions, readings, conversations and movies. Do we still have to discuss the revolution and especially the idea of communism today? To what extent did it influence people living in its political sphere? And which of its footprints lead into our present days? Almost all of Kunstfest’s productions are world premieres or German premieres. Visiting Weimar during the time of the festival means therefore visiting a unique event. Most works are based on co-operations with our partners and we would like to thank them sincerely for their strong commitment. Kunstfest reflects the potential of the city of Weimar as cultural institutions act in concert. Opening a door to the world, looking at our past to learn for our present, bringing people together in discussions about art – this is the focus of Kunstfest Weimar. We are looking forward to meeting you there.

Christian Holtzhauer and the team of Kunstfest Weimar

Words of welcome

Words of Welcome by Bodo Ramelow, Prime Minister of Thuringia and patron of the Kunstfest Weimar 2017 

Since 2014 Kunstfest Weimar has been presented in a new dress and has, thanks to its successful cooperation, indeed become an integral part of DNT. In Weimar, the traditional cultural capital of Thuringia, Kunstfest Weimar has – against the background of an ambivalent and partly highly controversial cultural heritage – repeatedly reflected crucial topics of our past and present.

In the year of the anniversary of the Reformation, Kunstfest Weimar focuses a further historic major event. In fact, there are only seven days that can change worlds between half a millennium of Reformation and 100 years of the Russian Revolution. This year’s festival aims not only to search for traces of the communist idea and its practice but also and in a first place to present varied outstanding artistic realizations reflecting a topic that sustainably shaped the 20th century. Kunstfest Weimar reflects current artistic trends and positions and transforms them in the light of political and societal changes. With this concept Kunstfest Weimar pursues its inherent avant-garde orientation and has undoubtedly become an indispensable part of Thuringia’s festival calendar.

Bodo Ramelow

Words of Welcome by Stefan Wolf, Lord Mayor of the City of Weimar and patron of the Kunstfest Weimar 2017  

Dear friends of Kunstfest Weimar, dear guests of our city! The most important festival for international contemporary art in central Germany reflects this year once again an outstanding topic: one hundred years after the Russian Revolution, Kunstfest Weimar goes back to search for traces of the heritage of the communist idea and practice. In Weimar, which is a symbol not only of classic humanism but also of the Janus-faced modern age, this search will fall on good soil. There are many places in the city where the historic change starting from Russia had very strong and visible effects for a certain period of time. These are for example the Thälmann memorial, the Soviet cemeteries of honor and even the current town hall with its huge foyer mosaic in socialist manner. This year’s Kunstfest will again be kindly supported by many Weimarbased institutions. I am very grateful to see how these cooperations prove the diversity of the cultural scene of Weimar. To this year’s Kunstfest – all the best and good luck!  

Stefan Wolf
Europäische UnionWeimarer Sommer