Zeit der Götter
Lutz Dammbeck’s filmic look at sculptor Arno Breker examines the German relationship between art and power. Breker was one of the most frequently employed artists of the Nazi state. Between 1936 and 1945 he worked almost exclusively for the architect Albert Speer and his plans for the transformation of Berlin into the “World Capital”. In 1938 Breker became a professor at the “Hochschule für bildende Künste” in Berlin; in 1944 he accepted the call to head a master studio of the Prussian Academy of Arts and an appointment to the Akademy’s Senate; that same year, Adolf Hitler included him in the “Gottbegnadetenliste”, or “List of Divinely Gifted”. After the end of the war, Breker was classified as a “follower”; until his death in 1991, he received numerous private commissions from entrepreneurs, politicians (such as Ludwig Erhart and Konrad Adenauer) as well as artists (such as Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais and others).
Based on Breker’s biography and against the background of German art history and contemporary history, Dammbeck asks where the line runs between “autonomous” art and opportunism for the sake of power, whether there is such a thing as aesthetic “innocence” and where ideological continuities after 1945 can be found. Zeit der Götter (Age of the Gods) combines documentary, staged approaches and conversations, including with the athlete Gustav Stührk, who was Breker's favourite model, Breker’s secretary Erna Gabriel, the writer Ernst Jünger, the actor Jean Marais, the collector Peter Ludwig as well as Werner Stötzer, one of East Germany’s most renowned sculptors.
Dammbeck's interview montage is also a document of the early 1990s and that period’s relationship to its recent past.
Following the film’s screening, writer Manja Präkels and art historian Dorothea Schöne will discuss these questions with the filmmaker; the talk will be moderated by journalist Matthias Dell.
Accompanying programme to the POWER SPACE VIOLENCE. Planning and Building under National Socialism exhibition.
Lutz Dammbeck is a visual artist and filmmaker. His works have been shown in numerous exhibitions, including “The XXth Century. A Century of Art in Germany” (National Gallery Berlin, 1999), “Paranoia” (Akademie der Künste Berlin, 2006), “Art of Two Germanies/Cold War Cultures” (Los Angeles County Art Museum, 2009) and “Nostalgia Is An Extended Feedback” (Nam June Paik Art Center Seoul, 2013). His best-known films include Age of the Gods (1992), The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet (2003) and Overgames (2015). Dammbeck lives and works in Hamburg.
Matthias Dell is a film and media critic who works for Deutschlandradio and writes the weekly Tatort/Polizeiruf-column on ZEIT Online entitled Obduktionsbericht (“Autopsy Report”). Author for Cargo, Merkur, and other publications. Books: Über Thomas Heise (2014) and Duisburg Düsterburg. Werner Ružička im Gespräch (2018, written together with Simon Rothöhler).
Manja Präkels worked as a journalist for the newspaper Märkische Allgemeine in the 1990s. Today she lives in Berlin and Brandenburg, working as freelance author and musician. Her debut novel Als ich mit Hitler Schnapskirschen aß (2017), won the Anna-Seghers-Preis, among other awards. Her most recent publication was the collection of essays entitled Welt im Widerhall – oder war das eine Plastiktüte? (2022).
Dorothea Schöne is an art historian and has been the Artistic Director of Kunsthaus Dahlem in Berlin since 2014. Prior to that, she worked as a freelance curator and art critic. At the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), she served as curatorial assistant for the exhibition “Art of Two Germanys / Cold War Cultures” (2009). In 2012, she was a fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., and in 2018 she was a guest curator at the HOW Art Museum in Shanghai. In 2021 she was awarded the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize.