1st Festival 1991


Theaterfestival europäischer Avantgarde

(European avant-garde theatre festival)

14 – 17 November 1991

(Preface to the printed programme – including conception of the festival)

Avant-garde – »is it really necessary?«

avant-garde/aevanga:d/ 1. vanguard: (fig) at the forefront, warship on watch 2. (fig) pioneer (Langenscheidt's standard school dictionary, 1976, Berlin, München)

How easily the treadmill of routine goes nowhere, simply rattles and rusts. The desire for continuity, settledness, the usual opposes the demand for innovation and change, presses for a decision, a comfortable solution or compromise. Things are no different in the theatre where tradition and innovation also confront each other. The Avant-garde boldly claims its territory. In the theatre the Avant-garde is progress, development, movement, rebellion against worn-out traditions, based on all that is forgotten, superseded, ousted during the history of ideas and art.

The Avant-garde explores and investigates the unknown or unrecognised, examines new forms and shatters the old. It is outrageous, radical in its claims, tough with traditionalists, sometimes sensitive to itself, and always individual. The vehement declaration that one has one's own artistic subjectivity rebels against the norm, provoking and disturbing where contentment with the status quo rules, where fear of not mastering one's own life paralyses, or where resignation paints existence grey. The Avant-garde relies on a public which declares its individuality, loving the spectator who questions what is seen and heard, and ransacking his feelings, his life, his treasury of images and memories.

Perhaps you sometimes feel helpless or abandoned when confronted with the unusual in culture. The question »What did the artist mean?« is often unfruitful, as the artist often resorts to evading the question. He has expressed himself through his art. Trust your feelings and enjoy the strange beauty, the intensity of a concentrated life, the spiritual and emotional wealth found in a unique individual. Enjoy too your imagination and that of the artist, and the hint of chaos communicated.

Matthias Renner
Festival Director

Ann-Elisabeth Wolff
Artistic cooperation