Art of Democracy on Tour started in Graz, Austria, and will make its way around Europe leading up to the Art of Democracy Festival which will be part of the first European Capital of Democracy. “Art is always political, and artists often sense not only what is, but also what will be. In times when democracy is under assault, we believe that “Art of Democracy” can offer an important impetus to realize, discuss and defend the very thin line which separates our free society from autocrats who want to destroy it”, says Dunja Ganser, Art of Democracy Project Manager.
Versuch über das Unbegreifliche / Attempt on the Incomprehensible
“With a concert at Minoritensaal – a charity project for the Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv – we continue our support for Ukraine through music” says Styriarte’s Artistic Director, Mathis Huber. Gerd Kühr’s new work “Versuch über das Unbegreifliche” / “Attempt on the Incomprehensible”, a world premiere, gave the whole evening its name and direction. Gerd Kühr’s highly dramatic and expressive response to the current war in Europe and works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Dmitri Schostakowitsch were performed by Anna Ihring, Coloratura Soprano, Tetiana Miyus, Soprano, Ekaterina Protsenko, Soprano, Annette Schönmüller, Mezzo Soprano, Kristina Miller, Piano and Studio Percussion with Bernhard Richter, Florian Pöttler and Grilli Pollheimer.
“In view of our perceived unanswerability – why is there a war on in Europe, next door to us – incomprehensibility dominates the room”, said Gerd Kühr. The audience reacted enthusiastically to the performance, clearly moved and saddened by the topic.
An Art Project in Public Space was brought to the city of Graz by the Austrian performance and media artist, curator and urbanist Oliver Hangl. In his urban interventions, he confronts human beings in their environment, shifts the boundaries between physical and psychic spaces, and playfully connects both worlds. He displayed texts and quotes about “Democracy”, in the streets of Graz, bringing the message of the concert to people outside of the concert hall. The citizens of Graz saw the messages pop up in different places and took interest in reading them, adding their own responses or taking the messages home. Oliver Hangl said of this artistic element of his work: “To carry quotes on democracy as an offer into the middle of society, perhaps to reflect on them, to discuss them, or take them home, is a direct intervention into everyday life and into the public.”
Photo credit: Elias Pargan