Berlin art show traces desire for freedom

Updated 19 October 2012
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Berlin art show traces desire for freedom

AN exhibition exploring the concept of freedom through post-World War II artworks began a European tour here yesterday, a stone’s throw from where the Berlin Wall once stood.
With paintings, videos, photos, drawings and art installations, the “Desire for Freedom” exhibition at the German Historical Museum in central Berlin spotlights the work of more than 100 artists from the East and West since 1945.
Featured artists range from German painter Gerhard Richter, Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte and Christo, known for his environmental works of art including the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995.
“It’s not in chronological order and national differences are not underlined because basic questions such as ‘Who am I?,’ ‘To what extent am I free?,’ ‘Who are the others?,’ are always the same,” curator Monika Flacke said.
She said that freedom originated from the ideas of the Enlightenment and was much wider than just the division between East and West which resulted from World War II.
Divided into 12 sections, the exhibition, in Berlin until February, seeks to outline the idea of freedom in its different guises, from revolution to utopia via politics and sustainable development.
Visitors are reminded on entering the display of Article One of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
The idea of freedom is “deeply anchored in Europe and has moved to America where it has also found expression in all these revolutions of recent years, in the Occupy movement, in student revolutions,” Flacke said. Berlin provides a fitting backdrop, having seen two dictatorships in the last century and been the setting of a peaceful revolution which led to the tearing down of the detested Wall in 1989 at the end of more than four decades of the Cold War.
And one photo by British sisters Jane and Louise Wilson questions repression or the deprivation of freedom with their work depicting a Berlin prison of former East Germany’s dreaded Stasi secret police.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Thorbjoern Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, were due to officially open the exhibition on Tuesday.
After Berlin, the exhibition moves to Milan, then the Estonian capital Tallinn followed by Krakow in Poland.


Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

Updated 21 June 2018
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Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

  • The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum.
  • Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events.

ATHENS: Hymns sung to the Greek gods thousands of years ago resonated from ancient musical instruments in Athens on Thursday, transporting a transfixed audience to antiquity.
The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum as part of World Music Day celebrations.
A family of musicians, Lyravlos have recreated exact replicas of the ancient instruments from natural materials including animal shells, bones, hides and horns.
Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events. Today only some 60 written scores of ancient Greek music have survived, said Lyravlos member Michael Stefos.
Stefos said they interpret them as best they can, relying on the accuracy of their recreated instruments.
“Joking aside, ancient CDs have never been found,” he said.
Their performance included a hymn to the god Apollo, pieces played at the musical festival of the ancient Pythian Games in Delphi and during wine-laden rituals to the god Dionysus.
Michael’s father Panayiotis Stefos, who heads the group, travels to museums at home and abroad studying ancient Greek antiquities and texts in order to recreate the instruments.
“Usually each instrument has a different sound. It is not something you can make on a computer, it will not be a carbon copy,” said Stefos.
The difference with modern day instruments?
“If someone holds it in their arms and starts playing, after a few minutes they don’t want to let it go, because it vibrates and pulsates with your body,” he said.
French tourist Helene Piaget, who watched the performance, said it was “inspiring.”
“One sees them on statues, on reliefs, and you can’t imagine what they might sound like,” she said.
World Music Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the summer solstice.