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Female Power at the Festspielhaus • Now also in the Visual Arts

19 JUL 2013

published in: General

Artwork of Eva Schlegel
“Eva Schlegel, the cosmopolitan Tyrolean, accompanies us throughout the 2013 season. She has lent the programme brochures, mailed around the globe by the thousand, a unique attractiveness. The imprecise element of her art, open to many different interpretations, gives the programme preview a special allure. From one page to the next, the reader is increasingly tempted to unveil the secret of this summer.
All this is crowned by this exhibit at the Haus für Mozart. This is not an incidental gussying-up of interval foyers, but a strong artistic signal. The close connection of the Salzburg Festival with the visual arts is as old as the Festival itself. The relationship began with the involvement of great artists as stage and costume designers. Oskar Kokoschka, Fritz Wotruba, Jean Tinguely, Jörg Immendorff, Jaume Plensa, Alfred Hrdlicka, Daniel Richter or Jonathan Meese: the most important visual artists of their times have grown to be a part of the effervescent world theatre in Salzburg, an involvement running like a red thread through the Festival’s history. In addition, many of them created lasting works for the Festival’s performance venues themselves. To this day, they accompany us on our perambulations through the Festspielhäuser, visible testimony to the incorporation of all artistic genres into the Festival, which is itself a 'total work of art'.
During the most recent past, the Festival’s endeavours on behalf of the visual arts have been enriched by a further facet. Since 2007, exhibitions closely related to the Festival programme have taken place, introducing artists whose works ideally complement the dramaturgical concept – and who were selected and invited by the Salzburg Festival.
This summer, Eva Schlegel’s airy installation at the Karl-Böhm-Saal invites us to take flight, commanding a range of emotions, from respect to fear. Where else would a study of flying and falling – a parable of success and failure – be more appropriate than in a house of art? Where else would this masterfully executed apotheosis of the ephemeral find a more obvious parallel than in the production of an opera? Opera, after all, is an art form that often sees only a few performances and yet echoes for a long time within the individual viewer, and within the entire world of music.
And then there are the permutations of typescript, Eva Schlegel’s special hallmark. The curtains on the third floor, a plastic sheet which almost demonises the baroque splendour of the Kollegienkirche. Or the lines of lettering in the hallway leading to the Felsenreitschule – despite their incredible lightness, they are quite disturbing. The fact that these purposefully illegible texts have much to do with theatre, with Bertolt Brecht and Arthur Kahane, cannot be read explicitly, but it can be felt.
Eva Schlegel has been 'performing' at museums and public places with great success for more than two decades. We are delighted that her works now emphasise the Festival’s enduring relationship with the visual arts in the most impressive manner imaginable.”

Helga Rabl-Stadler

The exhibit at the Karl-Böhm-Saal is open to Festival visitors from July 20, 2013 onwards, one hour before the beginning of a performance and during the intermissions of performances at the Haus für Mozart and at the Felsenreitschule.