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Press release: Ruhrtriennale enters "In-Between Time"

Press Release   •   Aug 01, 2018 16:25 BST

New creation ‘The Head and the Load’ by the South African artist and director William Kentridge will open the Ruhrtriennale’s first season under the new artistic directorship of Stefanie Carp. At a press conference in the Dampfgebläsehaus in Bochum the Artistic Director for the years 2018 – 2020 presented selected projects that will open the festival from 9th August.

Stefanie Carp: “The Ruhrtriennale’s narrative as a festival is that there is still time for us to imagine and work on a new project of human cohabitation. Refugees are an image of the era we live in that shows that the days of a self-sufficient Europe are over: we need to yield and share this if we are to continue to live by civilized standards. This year Europe has closed its borders and locked itself away. This makes it all the more important to present a programme that confronts us with different perspectives and narratives.”

The Ruhrtriennale 2018 will open on 9th August with a speech by the Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva at Gebläsehalle in the Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord. This will be followed by the German Premiere of William Kentridge’s ‘The Head and the Load’ in the Duisburg Kraftzentrale. The performance which received its world premiere a few weeks ago at Tate Modern in London is a powerfully visual production that explodes all genre categories to examine Africa’s role in the First World War. In a video message for the Ruhrtriennale William Kentridge expressed his delight that ‘The Head and the Load’ will be part of the festival.

Two days after the festival begins, on 11th August, the stage play ‘The Factory’ will have its world premiere at PACT Zollverein in Essen. In this theatre piece the Syrian artists Omar Abusaada (director) and Mohammad Al Attar (playwright) reconstruct the unscrupulous business models of war on the basis of the true story of the French Lafarge cement factory in north-eastern Syria. At the press conference Omar Abusaada provided an insight into the process of the play’s development and announced a production that attempts to deconstruct one of the wicked faces of war – the alliance between money and power.

An initial musical impression of the music theatre production ‘Universe, Incomplete’ (whose world premiere is on 17th August) was provided by the mezzo-soprano Tora Augestad accompanied at the piano by Bendix Dethleffsen. In his latest creation the Ruhrtriennale’s artiste associé, director Christoph Marthaler, offers a completely new perspective on Charles Ives’s unfinished ‘Universe Symphony’. In conversation with Stefanie Carp stage designer Anna Viebrock reported on rehearsals at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, which will be used in its entirety for the first time in this remarkable production. Friederike Tappe-Hornbostel, Director of Communications for the Federal Cultural Foundation, which has made the project possible, provided information about the Foundation’s support for the Ruhrtriennale.

Further highlights of the festival’s launch include the opening of the installation ‘Vom Nutzen der Angst – The Politics of Selection’ by Berlin-based artist Peggy Buth in the former St. Barbara Church in Duisburg on 10th August. This exhibition, which deals with the struggle for workers’ rights in Duisburg-Rheinhausen, is Urbane Künste Ruhr’s contribution to this year’s Ruhrtriennale.

A few days’ later the Ruhrtriennale’s festival centre will be open on 16th August. The ‘Third Space’ that the group of artists and architects raumlaborberlin will create in front of the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum consists of a stranded aircraft that will be extended and continually transformed over the course of the next three years with the active participation of members of the audience.

On 18th August the Ruhrtriennale will also present a panel discussion entitled ‘Freedom of Speech/Freiheit der Künste’ whose participants will discuss the complex relationship that both intellectual and artistic freedom have with individual and social responsibility in the context of German history. They will also consider the effectiveness and legitimacy of boycott strategies within the cultural sector. Alongside Stefanie Carp the panel will include Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen (Minister of Culture and Science for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia), Alain Platel (Belgian choreographer and theatre director), Elliot Sharp (New York-based composer, multi-instrumentalist and performer) and Michael Vesper (chair of the Friends and Supporters of the Ruhrtriennale). The event will be chaired by the former President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert.

Just before the Ruhrtriennale begins, tickets sales are also extremely busy: “We are delighted with the great interest from the public,” says Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, Managing Director of Kultur Ruhr GmbH. “The productions most in demand include ‘Universe, Incomplete’, ‘The Head and the Load’ and ‘Das Floß der Medusa’. Even if a number of performances are sold out – there are still some tickets available for most productions.”

In its first year under the artistic directorship of Stefanie Carp the Ruhrtriennale will present 33 productions and projects in the former industrial spaces of the Ruhr region – of these 20 are original and co-productions, and there are 16 world premieres, new productions, German premieres and installations. Between 9th August and 23rd September over 920 artists from approximately 30 different countries will visit the Ruhr region as part of the Festival.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Best regards,

Alexander Kruse
Pressesprecher / Press officer

Ruhrtriennale 2018 – 2020
Festival of the Arts

Music, dance, theatre, performance and fine arts in the former industrial buildings of the Ruhr Area: that’s the Ruhrtriennale. The venues of the Ruhrtriennale are the region’s outstanding industrial monuments, transformed each year into spectacular sites for impressive arts productions. At the centre of all this are contemporary artists seeking a dialogue with industrial spaces and between the disciplines. World premieres and new works are the essence of the programme which makes visiting the Ruhrtriennale an incomparable event. Every season, festival productions from the Ruhr region go on tour around the world.

The artists and themes featured in the programme are chosen by Artistic Directors appointed in three year cycles. The Ruhrtriennale’s Artistic Director for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 is the dramaturg and experienced theatre and festival director Stefanie Carp. The programme for 2018 will be announced at the end of April. This year the Ruhrtriennale takes place from 9th August to 23rd September.