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Art festival explores protest and resistance

The founding building of the Chemnitz school model / Photo: Johannes Richter/Kunstfestival Begehungen/dpa
The founding building of the Chemnitz school model / Photo: Johannes Richter/Kunstfestival Begehungen/dpa

The "Begehungen" festival has been bringing contemporary art to unusual places for years - to the delight of thousands of visitors. Now the festival organizers want to bring the theme of protest to a former school.

This summer's "Begehungen" art festival is dedicated to the theme of protest and thus builds a bridge to the peaceful revolution 35 years ago. The festival, which presents contemporary art in changing locations, has chosen a former school as its exhibition space. From 15 to 23 August, 20 to 25 works by international artists will be presented in the founding building of the Chemnitz school model, with which citizens wanted to change the GDR's education system at the time, according to the organizers. Concerts, readings, lectures and performances are also planned.

The location can be seen as a utopia that has taken shape from the protests in the fall of 1989, explained Lars Neuenfeld from the festival team. Back then, it was dangerous to protest in public. "Today, the right to protest is an immensely important expression of our democracy and people seem to be much more willing to protest than in previous decades." Artists can now apply with their ideas until the end of the month. We are looking for works of art that deal with different forms of protest and resistance as well as protest movements in the present day, but also past decades across the globe.

The "Begehungen" have been presenting contemporary art at annually changing locations since 2003. They have already visited a former prison, a derelict swimming pool or an abandoned freight yard. Last year, they transformed the empty castle palace in Lichtenstein (Zwickau district) into a temporary gallery. The art festival is part of the program for Chemnitz as European Capital of Culture 2025. The curator Claudia Tittel, who lives in Gera and Valencia, has reportedly been appointed as artistic director.

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