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15 Dec 2013

Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK): Ulf Aminde Strike: Opera #3

Musicians leaving the stage during the final Adagio of Strike: Opera#2, Truth is Concrete, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, 2012

part of Performative Democracy, curated by Joanna Warsza
Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK)


17 December 2013, 7 p.m. Free and open to all In collaboration with the Mendelssohn Kammerorchester Leipzig and the Cultures of the Curatorial, Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig


+49 34 11408126

Venue: Schaubühne Lindenfels
Karl-Heine-Straße 50
04229 Leipzig

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The Strike: Opera #3 by Ulf Aminde is actualizing the Symphony No. 45 by Joseph Haydn, also known as Farewell Symphony. The piece was written in 1772 for Haydn's patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, while Haydn and the court orchestra were residing at the Prince's summer palace. Due to additional performances, the musicians were asked to stay longer than expected, while their families were waiting for them at home. In order to manifest a disagreement with the extended working hours Haydn inscribed a form of a political protest directly on the music piece. During the symphony's final Adagio the musicians left the stage as soon as their instrument's part was finished in the score, so that at the end there were just two muted violins left and even the conductor had withdrawn.

Ulf Aminde recreates the last part of the Farewell Symphony looking at the possibilities of rebellious potential, protest movements, consciousness-raising, and performative strategies, which reside directly within the art forms. By actualizing, restaging and altering Haydn's concept, Aminde reflects on the identity of the art community, the logic of its self-determination and its capacities to create the significant disruption or a meaningful act of withdrawal. Strike: Opera #3 also looks at the tradition of the art strikes as a form of protest produced within the artistic realm – from the Art Workers' Coalition and Gustav Metzger to W.A.G.E – and reflects the tactics of the withdrawal.

The Leipzig edition of the Strike: Opera is an invitation to rehearse and perform the idea of an art strike and the same time it is a #testrun in the form of a call to the local and the international art community. Cultural workers from diverse fields are
therefore invited to give a statement to the phantasy of the strike and grammar of distortion in their own cultural production. These contributions will be put together in the form of one speech presented during the afternoon until the first tones of the Adagio in the evening.

The project is part of Joanna Warsza's series of interventions in public space in Leipzig 'Performative Democracy', which is a part of Responsive Subjects, a project of the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK).

Responsive Subjects 
is curated by Julia Schäfer und Franciska Zólyom is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony, The German-Czech Future Fund, the British Council and the Friends of the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig