a flower

Publication Announcement:

Jörg Immendorff, For All Beloved In The World. Feridun Zaimoglu: Ich, Immendorff. Exhibition Catalogue, Haus der Kunst, Munich 2018/19 Reina Sofia, Madrid 2019
Poems by Feridun Zaimoglu translated by Tom Cheesman.

For All Beloved In The World is the first major exhibition catalogue devoted to the artist since he died in 2007 and offers a thematic overview of the work of this German artist, whose identity is deeply enshrined in his home country’s history and characterized by a post-war background. More than 120 works will not follow a strict chronology of the works; instead they will present the key element in the development of Immendorff’s oeuvre in chapters. They will give a nuanced view of the artist’s life and work and will include some of the rarest loans and will bring together more than four decades of the artist’s work united with iconic paintings.
It was not until the end of the 1970s that Immendorff (1945-2007) decided to shift his threefold existence as a political activist, teacher and painter to the side of art. The year 1976 was key in some respects; Immendorff participated in the Venice Biennale with a flyer campaign that attacked the “deprivation of personal liberty” in the GDR and called for international artistic cooperation as a vehicle to overcome it; this was followed in 1978 by the beginning of his Café Deutschland series, inspired by Renato Guttuso’s Café Greco, which Immendorff had seen in an exhibition in Cologne. With his work on the Café Deutschland series, Immendorff's painting became more expressive through his bold use of color and gesture, thereby also freeing him of ideologically imbued emblematics. The process of change introduced here, with its formal and substantive opening-up, developed into the artist’s last work phase, a visual-linguistic “clearing” in the sense of a new pictorial energy and lightness, which Immendorff once described as a “liberation blow.”

Think German Wales visiting Film Director: Hüseyin Tabak

Supported by the Institute for Modern Languages Research, University of London

Wednesday 7 March: 7.30pm Presentation of film Deine Schönheit ist nichts wert / Your Beauty is Worth Nothing at Cinema & Co, Swansea High Street.  The film unfortunately has no English sub-titles.

Thursday 8 March:  7.30pm: Hüseyin Tabak in conversation at the Dylan Thomas Birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive (tickets required).

Hüseyin Tabak (b.1981) is a German film director of Turkish-Kurdish heritage who has worked extensively in Austria. He has made three films to date, two of which will be presented on his visit to Wales.

For more details, contact: Julian Preece (j.e.preece@swansea.ac.uk)

Heinrich Böll Centenary Lecture

To mark the centenary of the birth of Heinrich Böll (1917-85) on 21 December 2017, Stephen Murphy, who is writing a thesis on Böll’s ‘Aesthetics of the Humane’, will give a lecture on the author’s most famous short novel, Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum / The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum entitled: ‘The Aesthetics of the Humane in Heinrich Böll’s Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum’. 

Date: 13 December  

Time: 3pm  

Venue: Keir Hardie 021  

The paper will be followed by a screening of Volker Schlöndorff’s film adaptation.


Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum tells the story of a 27-year-old freelance housekeeper who has a romantic encounter with a young man who is on the run from the law, helps him flee, and is subsequently exposed to a vituperative tabloid campaign of smears and fabrications that deprives her of her “honour” and leads, ultimately, to an act of shocking violence.  The novel was written at a time that West Germany was gripped by the perceived threat of the Baader-Meinhof Group.  Given the degree to which Böll considered himself a writer informed by the Zeitgeist – to say nothing of several coincidences and allusions in the book to the wider events in reality – it is little surprise that critiques of the novel have concentrated on its connection to the then unfolding civil emergency.  These critiques, however, by and large neglect other readings. My talk, in contrast, relates the novel to Böll’s call, during his Frankfurt Lectures of 1964, for literature to assume an “aesthetic of the humane” as counterweight to the tilt of West Germany into an atomised and instrumental society.  I explain how, in Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum,Böll compares and contrasts humane and inhumane conceptions of four of the seven elements of everyday existence that make up his aesthetic, namely “dwelling (Wohnen), “neighbourhood” (Nachbarschaft), “homeland” (Heimat) and “love” (Liebe)

Herta Müller and the Currents of European History: A Conference

Dr Brigid Haines (Swansea University and a member of the CCGC), along with Prof Michel Mallet (Université de Monction) and Jenny Watson (Sheffield University) is part of the organising committee for the forthcoming 'Herta Müller and the Currents of European History' conference at the University of London. 

CCGC director delivers talk to Welsh think-tank, Gorwel

On Tuesday 27 June  2017 in the Venue Old Chamber, Ty Hwyel, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Professor Julian Preece gave a talk on “The Changing Shape of Germany, EU-Hegemon or ‘Hippy State’? Issues and Personalities in the Federal Elections of 2017”. He is pictured here after the lecture with Professor Russell Deacon, who is Gorwel's administrative director.

In the talk Professor Preece noted that after Brexit, Trump, Macron, electoral politics in the western democracies are changing in unprecedented ways as voter allegiances shift, established parties crumble, and old battle lines are re-drawn. How will Germans respond when they go to the polls on 17 September 2017 he asked? In the summer of 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in office since 2005, looked set to equal records established by fellow Christian Democrats Konrad Adenauer (1949-63) and Helmut Kohl (1982-98) and win a fourth successive victory. Then came the extraordinary events of the ‘migrant crisis’, the rise of the Pegida movement and the far-right party, ‘Die Alternative für Deutschland’. In January this year, the Social Democrats nominated EU Parliament President Martin Schulz their chancellor candidate and his poll ratings soared.

In the talk Professor Preece also noted that the SPD’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected Federal President in March, only the third Social Democrat to hold this office in the history of the republic. The SPD then crashed in state elections in the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia. The smaller parties as ever in Germany play key roles: Europe’s largest Green Party, Die Grünen, once a haven for radicals, now firmly embourgeoisé; the rump of the old East German state communist party, Die Linke, currently the third largest force in the Bundestag; the resurgent Free Democrats; and of course the AfD which may achieve what has eluded any party to the right of the CDU and cross the 5% hurdle at a national election. Professor Preece concluded by providing his analysis of how events are likely to unfold over the final months of the campaign and what the flavour of the new government in Berlin is likely to be.

Consultancy Work

The Centre has recently undertaken consultancy work for murmur research (http://www.murmurresearch.com) and the advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy (http://wklondon.com) on social attitudes and mental behaviour in German-speaking Europe. We welcome enquiries from commercial researchers interested in the biggest market in Europe. 

Conference: Grass and International Literature

Grass and International Literature / Grass und seine Weltliteratur 15th-16th September

Over the course of 15th-16th September 2017 a range of esteemed academics from across Europe, Asia and the United States spoke in both English and in German as part of a very special conference hosted in Swansea to mark the 90th birthday of the late literary giant Günter Grass.