Life? Or Theater?
March 16 – June 3, 2007
"Life? Or Theater?", Inv. Nr. 4925,
4608, 4829, Collection Jewish Historical Museum,
Amsterdam © Charlotte Salomon Foundation
Thursday, March 15, 2007, 7 p.m.
Dr. Franz Fischler, former EU commissioner
Dr. Esther Fritsch, president of the Jewish Community for Tyrol and
Dr. Brigitte Reinhardt, director of the Ulmer Museum, Ulm
Drs. Edward van Voolen, curator of the exhibition, Joods Historisch
(1917-1943) has created a unique piece with her series of paintings
titled Life? Or Theater?.
On 1,325 sheets she documented her life and that of her family. Salomon
called it a “Singespiel” or lyrical drama, a
dramaturgical combination of painting and text intended to be set to
music. Charlotte Salomon. Life?
Or Theater?, the travelling exhibition put together by the
Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam and to be shown at the Galerie im
Taxispalais, comprises a selection of some 280 gouaches with
accompanying text panels.
Charlotte Salomon created her oevre within a period of two years,
between 1940 and 1942, in exile in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France. She, a
Jewess, had fled from Berlin, following her grandparents to this town.
In 1943, shortly after she had married Alexander Nagler, an Austrian
Jewish refugee, she was betrayed and arrested by the Germans. That same
year she was killed in Auschwitz, and soon after her husband succumbed
to the same fate.
Her oeuvre was hidden in France. Albert and Paula Salomon, her father
and her stepmother, had survived the Shoah in the Netherlands and
travelled to France in 1947. Ottilie Moore, the American, who had
provided Charlotte and her grandparents refuge, handed them the works.
In 1971 Paula and Albert Salomon donated the entire oeuvre to the
Amsterdam Joods Historisch Museum.
Charlotte Salomon lets her story begin before her birth and tells about
her life in Berlin where she grew up in a well-to-do family with strong
interest in the arts. She describes her mother who committed suicide
while she was still a child, and her father, a professor for medicine
who later married the well-known singer Paula Lindberg. From 1935 to
1937 Charlotte Salomon studied art. She tells about the young
girl’s passions, which were overshadowed by the tragic events
in her family. She also gives an account of the political events that
influenced here life: The Nazi seizure of power in 1933, the increasing
anti-Semitic repression – her father was detained for some
time at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp – and finally
her flight to her grandparents in Southern France.
Salomon gave Life? Or
Theater? the subtitle “Tricolor
Singespiel”, because it contains both spoken dialogues as
well as music and because the color mixes and shades are painted in
only three colors – red, blue and yellow. Life? Or Theater?
consists of a prelude, a main part and an afterword. In her narrative,
Salomon makes use of filmic means such as flashback and montage,
seriality, change of perspective and close up. Similar to a comic, she
adds texts to the scenes either as text panels placed below the image
or she integrates text in the image.
Theater? is a fictionalized autobiography featuring more
than twenty characters with invented names. “They are
protagonists of a dramatized life in which reality and invention are
deliberately merged. Charlotte Salomon has withdrawn to the role of the
‘author’. An author who functions as a narrator,
sometimes with detached descriptions, and often with ironic
comments.” (Astrid Schmetterling)
The selection of musical pieces can also be structurally compared with
film. Salomon alternates between serious music such as songs and opera
arias and popular music such as traditional songs and hits that
accompany or complement a given scene.
Friday, March 16, 2007, 2 – 6 p.m.
Prof. Dr. Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, art historian, University of
Applied Arts Vienna
Prof. Dr. Ernst van Alphen, literary scholar, University of Leiden
Pre- and Post-Holocaust Perspectives on Charlotte Salomon’s
Life? Or Theater? (English)
Annegret Friedrich, art historian, University of Gießen
Cinema, Comic, Caricature: On the modernity of Charlotte Salomon
Sulzenbacher, curator, Jewish Museum Hohenems
Perspectives of Jewish Museums in the Present. On the Perception and
Narration of Jewish History (German)
Edward van Voolen, curator, Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam
Departure for Exile: Charlotte Salomon. Introductory Remarks (German)
||Film series on Charlotte Salomon
April 19, 2007, 6:30 p.m.
Director: Frans Weisz
Cast: Birgit Doll,
Derek Jacobi, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Brigitte Horney, et al.
The film is based on
the life story of Charlotte Salomon who fled from Berlin and traveled
to her grandparents in Southern France in 1939. As a response to her
desperation Charlotte began to paint.
The director Frans
Weisz will be present.
Thursday, April 26,
2007, 6:30 p.m.
Script and direction:
Christine Fischer-Defoy, Caroline Goldie, Daniela Schmidt
Fischer-Defoy, Caroline Goldie and Daniela Schmidt visited the
96-year-old Paula Salomon-Lindberg (1897-2000), Charlotte
Salomon’s step-mother, in Amsterdam. The film traces the life
story of this exceptional woman, a celebrated singer.
Die Liebe, mein
Schatz, ist bodenlos (Love My Darling Is Bottomless)
Thursday, May 3,
2007, 6:30 p.m.
1998, 68 min.
Cast: Amalie Bizer,
Michael Holz, Daniela Ziegler, et al.
The film stages
Charlotte Salomon’s series of paintings Life? Or Theater? as
a documentary feature film. The central focus is her first great love,
her singing instructor Alfred Wolfsohn, figuering as Amadeus Daberlohn
in the play.
The director Sabine
Willmann will be present.
with the Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, Curator: Edward van Voolen
Leben? Oder Theater?
Prestel Verlag, Munich 2004, 432 pp., 835 color ill., € 29.90
Brigitte Reinhardt, Ulmer Museum, Ulm
Federal Foreign Office, Germany
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Vienna
im Taxispalais Maria-Theresien-Str. 45 A-6020 Innsbruck
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 11-18, Do 11-20 Uhr LeseRAUM:
Di-So 11-18, Do 11-20 Uhr
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