Why art?

Society is in turmoil. What will become of the «European project», the peaceful convergence of Europe? In view of current worldwide migration movements, for example, how are European societies going to change? And how can artists describe these developments, or even influence them? Or is that not the responsibility of art?

The writer, film-maker and painter Peter Weiss, who would have been one hundred years old this autumn, was one of the most important proponents of a socially and politically involved art. His novel «The Aesthetics of Resistance» forms the basis of the production «Our Violence and Your Violence» by Croatian director Oliver Frljic. We will introduce Weiss' book in detail through a series of readings together with the Deutsches Nationaltheater. We will also devote a film screening and a discussion to the author. The artist Krzysztof Wodiczko has allowed himself to be inspired by Weiss for an interactive video projection in the public domain. Spiritually akin to Weiss is «By Heart», a remarkable ode to the power of literature by Tiago Rodrigues.

Whether art can provide models to enable people of different origins to encounter one another with respect and learn from one another is the question raised by the international theatre project «KULA – to Europe» which we developed in cooperation with the DNT. In «Evros Walk Water» stories told by refugee youths blend with a re-enactment of a concert by John Cage. In his celebrated piece «We Love Arabs» the Israeli choreographer Hillel Kogan shows that (even positive) prejudices do not necessarily simplify coexistence.

The artist collective from Shanghai, Xiao Ke & Zi Han, examines how history and politics are inscribed in the body. In «Siena» the successful Barcelona dance ensemble La Veronal brings a museum to life. We will be introducing the Flemish choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez with two German premieres: her solo to music by Bob Dylan, and a duet about a fundamental human emotion – fear.

The Danish ensemble Teatret Gruppe 38 demonstrates that being afraid can also be fun, in its play for the whole family «I'm Not Afraid of Anything», which is suitable for children from the age of eight. This is one of our numerous offers for young audiences. In a project by the Kunstfest and the free youth theatre stellwerk weimar, young adults draft a society of the future. Our acrobatic dance piece «Gravitas» by Ofir Yudilevitch takes us into schools – and into town, as do new works by students from the Bauhaus University's Master's programme «Public Art and New Artistic Strategies», the Fotothek and the Schlagquartett Köln.

As always, the Kunstfest invites you to venture into new artistic territory: «GOETHE :: DISAPPEARANCES» at the Schießhaus Weimar enables a particularly intense theatre experience on the trail of the great poet. Our opening concert «UN / REST» with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie ranges from Richard Wagner via Alban Berg to contemporary music. With Sylvain Cambreling, Carolin Widmann, Ana Durlovski and dancers from Sasha Waltz & Guests, we have attracted some of the best in their field to Weimar to find out how music and dance can be combined in a concert format.

Why art? Art can – among other things – inspire us to re-examine and formulate our attitudes. It can encourage us to recognize, endure and handle conflicts. In this sense, the programme of the Kunstfest Weimar has much to offer. We wish you a lot of interesting discoveries, encounters and discussions, and look forward to a wonderful Kunstfest 2016 together!

Christian Holtzhauer and the Kunstfest Weimar Team

Words of welcome

Words of Welcome from Bodo Ramelow, State Premier of Thuringia

Year after year, the Kunstfest Weimar has drawn a lot of attention and attracted a broad public to the city with its unusual programme.

This year also promises exciting artistic highlights. A particular focal point is Peter Weiss and his novel «The Aesthetics of Resistance». Weiss' review of the social conditions during the Nazi era and his exploration of how art might enable resistance still challenges the spirit of Weimar, which embodies the tensions between humanitarianism and barbarism.

Reappraising inhumane mindsets and military atrocities is highly topical today against the backdrop of the refugee movements. Through its involvement and its programme the Kunstfest Weimar provides new impulses for society in general.

The Kunstfest Weimar stands, above all, for internationalism. This year, artists from all over the world will again enliven the city of German Classicism and acknowledge Thuringia as a liberal-minded state. I would therefore like to wish the organizers and the Kunstfest Weimar every success and lots of visitors from far and near.

Bodo Ramelow

Words of Welcome from Stefan Wolf, Mayor of the City of Weimar

Dear friends of the Kunstfest Weimar, dear guests of our city!

Once again the Kunstfest Weimar team, under the artistic direction of Christian Holtzhauer, has really gone to great lengths: over the 17 days of the festival, there will be almost 30 different projects and productions in all the artistic genres at very different venues throughout the city. From 19.8. to 4.9. you will be offered a broad artistic and thematic programme which I endorse wholeheartedly!

Many of the projects in this year's Kunstfest were developed specifically for Weimar or will have their German premiere here. But they won't just remain in Weimar! Some will be performed in other European cities, some will be reviewed, discussed and debated in Germany and abroad, thereby spreading the reputation of Weimar far beyond the city borders. The particular charm of the Kunstfest is its internationality. I am very happy about this homegrown festival in its current, still young form, and recommend it to you strongly – you will not regret it!
Wishing you a lot of enjoyment!

Yours Stefan Wolf
Weimarer Sommer