Franz Kafka’s afterlife in artwork: Where the Odradek sits | EUROtoday

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Ea teenager descends the steps of a dilapidated stairwell; Paint is peeling off the partitions, a grimy sink is rusting away, and you must look very intently to identify the tiny Odradek within the sample below the steps. Jeff Wall wandered round Prague for a very long time to discover a location for his gentle field work that was an ideal match for Franz Kafka’s story “The Concern of the House Father”. In “Taboritskà 8, Prague, July 18, 1994,” the Canadian artist situated the fictional, “extraordinarily mobile,” talking creature, resembling a spool of thread with a supporting leg, with an “undetermined residence.”

Like so many issues with Kafka, the unusual Odradek eludes clear clarification regardless of quite a few makes an attempt at interpretation. Franz Kafka is likely one of the few writers whose title enriches our vocabulary as a typical time period. The adjective “Kafkaesque” stands for the oppressive, absurd, eerie ambiance that prevails within the highly effective creator’s texts, and it characterizes the works of a particularly worthwhile exhibition during which the Munich Villa Stuck exhibits how on the event of the one centesimal anniversary of Kafka’s loss of life subsequent 12 months the world-famous author continues to encourage artists. We study that Kafka drew himself and maintained contact with the artwork scene in his hometown of Prague, the place he additionally met Alfred Kubin, whose works he should have favored with their grotesque and implausible motifs.

Marina Abramovic's assist?  Alfred Kubin's “Power”, around 1903

Marina Abramovic’s help? Alfred Kubin’s “Power”, round 1903

Image: Municipal gallery within the Lenbachhaus

The present is cruel, so to talk, with killing gadgets in medias res, with the grotesque execution machine from the story “In the Penal Colony,” which writes the violated commandment deeper and deeper into the condemned individual’s bare physique with numerous sharp needles till the loss of life happens. The monstrous gadget, which the curator legend Harald Szeemann had recreated for his exhibition “Bachelor Machines” in 1975 primarily based on Kafka’s meticulous description, is now within the Stuck Villa and proper subsequent door is the “Killing Machine” by the Canadian artist couple Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. At the push of a button, robotic arms start their murderous needle dance round a dentist’s chair with arm restraints to shrill music and disco ball lightning. In the period of George Bush Jr. and 9/11, this 2007 work up to date Kafka’s criticism of disregard for all times and the sanctioning of torture.

Insomnia, indigestion, self-doubt

All newcomers and people who are forgetful about Kafka will probably be helped by excerpts from the comedian by Robert Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz, which illustrates the life and work of the creator and now introduces the chapters of the course with juicy illustrations on giant banners. Curator Helena Pereña emphasizes the subjectivity of her choice of works from greater than thirty artists. Not everybody refers to Kafka as explicitly as Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, who recreated the room from the well-known story “The Metamorphosis” during which Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning as a monstrous vermin. In their multi-part photograph work “Gregor’s Room I,” the artists flip the room into the scene of a seek for bugs.

Does the web come from Gregor Samsa or a monster vermin or both?  Chiharu Shiota’s “During Sleep,” 2023

Does the online come from Gregor Samsa or a monster vermin or each? Chiharu Shiota’s “During Sleep,” 2023

Image: Jann Averwerser/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

But all displays discover a piece of terrain in Kafka’s abyssal cosmos. For instance, the place the creator’s gaze turns inward, partly on account of his personal bodily and psychological wants – amongst different issues, he was affected by insomnia, indigestion, and self-doubt. Mona Hatoum’s “Deep Throat”, the monitoring shot by way of an esophagus fantastically organized on a plate, matches in there. Likewise the good sequence “Mercy Hospital” by Ida Applebroog, who died a number of weeks in the past. It was created in 1969/70 throughout a keep in a psychiatric clinic. Working on the sketches by way of themes akin to energy and sexuality of individuals, animals and shapes rising collectively helped the artist to search out her method again to life and herself from an elementary disaster – which is harking back to how a lot Kafka seen writing as, so to talk, “meals “wanted.

An atonal improvisation

Family relationships, an implicit ongoing theme of the delicate Franz, who was oppressed by his father’s dominance, discover parallels with painted horror tales by Paula Rego, additionally with Louise Bourgeois’ “Ode to my Mother” within the type of an arachnid. “During Sleep” is what Chiharu Shiota calls her set up fabricated from dense black threads that cowl a complete room and in addition a mattress, a extremely claustrophobic state of affairs worthy of Kafka. Would he have acknowledged himself in all of the contributions to this present?

Room with a nightmare view: Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler's “Gregor's Room III” from 1999 leaves you perplexed.

Room with a nightmare view: Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s “Gregor’s Room III” from 1999 leaves you perplexed.

Image: Goetz Collection

In any case, in Andreas Gursky’s {photograph} “Passport Control,” which exhibits two counters which might be similar aside from the officers’ faces and seem repellent, he may discover a good label for bureaucratic absurdities and constraints that he, the insurance coverage worker, was very conversant in; The picture may additionally function a contemporary illustration for his textual content “Before the Law,” during which a doorkeeper denies a rustic man “entry into the law” for the remainder of his life. Films by David Rych and Franz Wanner switch Kafka’s interrogation scenes, during which the guilt of the interviewee is at all times already established, to interviews with migrants and asylum seekers which might be characterised by arbitrariness and abuse of energy.

Kafka is alleged to have typically laughed out loud at readings, however his humor, or relatively the tragicomedy in his writings, isn’t highlighted. Rodney Graham’s movie of a person in jail clothes who’s led to a piano builds a psychological bridge. He’s presupposed to play, however the handcuffs aren’t eliminated, which is why he cannot sing the “Reverie” reverie introduced within the title, however as a substitute performs an atonal improvisation. The exhibition in Kafka’s honor ends with the absurd slapstick state of affairs. He most likely would have favored her.

Kafka: 1924. Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; till February 11, 2024. A catalog will probably be printed.