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Stuttgart lays itself bare in the name of freedom, nature and art

Naked people pretending to be giraffes standing between cars or acting like monkeys climbing trees have become a regular sight in Stuttgart this summer, due to an artistic campaign in the name of nature and freedom.

Stuttgart lays itself bare in the name of freedom, nature and art
Participants in the Kessel-Safari project pretending to be mountain goats. Photo: Daniela Wolf.

Stuttgart was subject to a naked takeover on Sunday during one of several photo shoots which have taken place in the southern city throughout the summer.

The takeover was part of an artistic campaign involving students and professors from Kunstakademie Stuttgart posing au naturel in various public locations for a calendar which aims to lay bare environmental and social issues in the city.

“We think in the end, people would certainly be much better off if they went running around together in the bushes more often, instead of being stuck in a traffic jam,” the organizers Justyna Koeke and Marie Leinhard told The Local.

Artists pose on a roundabout in the city. Photo: Stuttgart Under Construction.

The art students described their project as a reaction to Stuttgart's numerous construction sites and “constant traffic stress”. The capital of Baden-Württemberg is one of the most polluted cities in the country despite being in the only German state lead by the Green Party. 

“We set about finding more freedom, more nature, more humanity” in a world which is increasingly conservative and controlled, the artists told The Local.

There is certainly a lot of humanity visible in these photos, with a distinct lack of clothing in any of the scenes.

Last year the artists similarly created a naked calendar centred around the city's many building sites. But for this project, they wanted to show “the wild side of Stuttgart”.

The 2018 calendar project, named “Kessel-Safari”, (kettle safari) isn't like any safari you've seen before.

The team from the Kunstakademie imitated various wild animals by climbing over the parks and green areas in the city and getting as close to nature as possible.

Koeke and Leinhard feel “Stuttgart has a fine, long-standing naked tradition,” while they also point out that “animals don't wear clothes”.

The artists say they hope the calendar will raise questions about whether normal citizens can have a say in the development of their city, rather than just big investors.

But they also just want to “make people laugh because naked people are pretending to be giraffes between the cars, or monkeys climbing in the trees.”

Kessel-Safari artists monkeying around in a tree in Stuttgart. Photo: Stuttgart Under Construction.

Residents of Stuttgart should be prepared for further “wild animal” sightings next week as the final three photos for the Kessel-Safari calendar are set to be shot then.

ART

Eight online events in Germany not to miss in February 2021

With tougher Covid-19 restrictions now in place in Germany, travelling and socialising have become increasingly limited. So we’ve compiled a list of fun events for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

Eight online events in Germany not to miss in February 2021
The entrance to Berlin's Alte Nationalgallerie. Photo: DPA

Here are some events and ongoing activities to look out for in February.

Berlin Philharmonic returns to the 1920s, Saturday, February 13th 2021 at 6:45pm

Berliner Philharmoniker is streaming the 1920s First Symphony Opera, one of German composer Kurt Weill’s early performances. 

As described by the orchestra, this piece’s music is “captivating and triumphant”. The music was composed in 1927 and its story takes place in ancient Greece. 

Final Girls Film Festival, February 4th at 1pm to February 8th at 11:59pm

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival showcases horror cinema that’s directed, written, or produced by women and non-binary filmmakers. 

The festival is committed to creating space for female voices and visions, whether monstrous, heroic or some messy combination of the two, in the horror genre.

Berliner Festspiele, Strong Pieces Stream, Until March 

Berliner Festspiele is showing two of their top picks.

“The Misanthrope” is a Molière’s classic staged by Anne Lenk, and translated by Jürgen Gosch and Wolfgang Wiens. It’s been called a straightforward delight with an exceptional concentration of language and wit. 

And “Man appears in the Holocene” is staged by Alexander Giesches after Max Frisch’s novella about mankind’s Sisyphus-struggle against their own doom.

König Gallerie, 'Dreaming of Alligator Head' by Claudia Comte, January 21st 2021- January 12th 2022

With her digital solo exhibition Dreaming of Alligator Head, Comte creates a scenario that is impossible in reality: She plants her underwater sculpture park in the König Gallerie app. The digital visitors inside experience a fascinating underwater world without having to go on a physical journey. 

Comte also seeks to raise awareness of marine environments and ask how an artistic object can change the world. Check out the exhibition on the König Gallerie app. 

Galerie Tanja Wagner, How to be human, until February 13th 2021 

Celebrating 10 years of the opening of her contemporary art gallery, Tanja Wagner’s exhibition, How to Be Human showcases her personal favourite works of artists she has collaborated with.

It includes Grit Richter’s famous work, Das Letzte Wort, as well as other works that in Wagner’s opinion, seek to explore the question ’How to Be Human’. 

Alte Nationalgalerie Online, until further notice

The Alte Nationalgalerie was set up as a “sanctuary for art and science”. The idea for a national gallery was realised after the donation of a collection of paintings by Caspar David Friedrich to the Prussian state. 

Since Covid-19 has made it difficult to visit the otherwise very popular museum, the gallery has made its collection available online until further notice. 

Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Beats and Bones Podcast and Livestream, Mondays at 7pm, until further notice 

Berlin’s Naturkundemuseum is offering a podcast series where nature experts from the museum answer questions about the diversity of nature, evolution, the formation of the earth, climate change and insect death.

They explore questions such as “Who knows our earliest ancestors were 480 million-year-old jawless fish?” Or, ‘What is the Achilles heel of Tyrannosaurus rex’? 

Catch new episodes every Monday on Instagram, along with a live stream through the museum with experts accompanying you through the collection and exhibition. The previous episodes are available on Spotify as well as Youtube. 

Anne Frank Zentrum, All about Anne, until further notice 

The Anne Frank Zentrum's exhibition “All about Anne” is normally presented at Hackescher Markt in Berlin-Mitte. Since lockdown, the exhibition has been made available online. 

Its exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank's life and the time in which she lived. It also explains why her diary is so well-known today and shows that her thoughts are still relevant. 

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