Kolumba
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4 May to 20 August 2018
Michael Oppitz
Mobile Myths

“Precision creates a beauty of its own. For which reason the precision I call for in ethnographies, whether visual or verbal, is an artistic practice.” (Michael Oppitz, 1981)

The point of departure for all of our exhibitions at Kolumba is our collection. This means that it is not always major works that determine exhibitions, which is very fortunate and gives us the chance to upend the normal systems of evaluation. What at first sight appeared to be no more than an unspectacular artists’ book by Michael Oppitz and Lothar Baumgarten, published in 1974 by Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf, set the ball rolling for a monographic project that presents the researches of the anthropologist and film maker Michael Oppitz.
His works elude any clear categorisation. They are concerned with among other things mythology and oral traditions, with the anthropology of religion and with visual anthropology. He is regarded in his field as a unique and charismatic figure. By and large he has avoided the halls of academe and devoted himself to extensive field research among small ethnic groups in the Himalayas. Right from the outset, his personal contacts with writers and artists, such as Lothar Baumgarten, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Candida Höfer and Sigmar Polke, provided the fuel for mutual inspiration. Michael Oppitz has also been acclaimed well beyond the boundaries of his discipline, in particular for his film Schamanen im Blinden Land [Shamans of the Blind Country], which after its premiere on 15 October 1980 in New York had an impact at the Berlin International Film Festival that can be felt to this day. As a precise description of the highly complex rituals of Himalayan spirit healers, Schamanen im Blinden Land convinces by a cineastic beauty that is rarely to be found in ethnographic films. The film interweaves the present with the mythic realities of ritual actions in an artistic way, thus enabling viewers to grasp how deeply our thoughts and actions today are rooted in the universe of origin narratives.
Taking as its starting point this 223 minute film epos, which will be shown in full in a newly restored version, the exhibition will present for the first time a selection of objects and documents that give a deep insight into Michael Oppitz’s researches, his working methods, and the genesis of the film. But it also follows the tracks that lead back to the time prior to making the film, and with that to the Rhineland of the 1970s, and brings together early, in part never shown projects that arose in collaboration with Lothar Baumgarten and through friendly exchanges with Marcel Broodthaers and others.
The exhibition is being mounted in close collaboration with Michael Oppitz and the media anthropologist and film maker Anja Dreschke. It will be accompanied by a wide programme of events.

Michael Oppitz *1942 in Silesia, grew up in Cologne, and now lives in Berlin. He studied anthropology, sociology and sinology at Berkeley, Bonn and Cologne. Since 1965 he has researched in Nepal (Sherpas and Magars), Naxi and Qiang (Yunnan and Sichuan), and has published numerous work on the ethnography of the Himalayas and on visual anthropology. From 1991 to his retirement in 2008 he was full Professor of Ethnology at the University of Zurich and director there of the Ethnographical Museum. His latest publication, Die Morphologie der Schamanentrommel (The Morphology of the Shaman Drum, Edition Voldemeer, 2013), presents in two copious volumes the practice and worldview of shamanism from the perspective of one sole object.


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2018 Michael Oppitz
2017 ars vivendi – ars moriendi
2017 Pas de deux

2017 Marek Poliks
2017 Eric Hattan
2017 Office for...
2017 Barthel Bruyn
2016 Street Art Project
2016 Kurt Benning
2016 On the Individual

2016 Bethan Huws
2015 Shopmovies
2015 Anna & Bernhard Blume
2015 The Read Thread

2015 Museum for Drawing
2015 Birgit Antoni: Cinema
2014 Vertigo of Reality
2014 playing by heart

2014 Achim Lengerer
2014 Bruno Jakob
2013 show cover hide

2013 Eucharist
2013 Norbert Schwontkowski
2013 Pascal Schwaighofer
2012 Art is Liturgy – Paul Thek

2012 Leiko Ikemura
2012 Volker Saul
2012 Jaromir Novotny
2011 Birgit Antoni
2011 thinking

2011 Philipp Wewerka
2010 Mischa Kuball
2010 Noli me tangere!

2010 Heinrich Küpper
2010 Robert Haiss
2010 Renate Köhler
2010 Georg Baumgarten
2009 Stefan Wewerka
09/09 Bequest

2009 Koho Mori-Newton
2009 Hermann Abrell
2008 Heiner Binding
2008 Man Leaving Earth

2007 Infinite Space Expands

2006 In the Garden of Reality II
2006 Werner Schriefers
2006 In the Garden of Reality I
2005 The Egner Donation
2005 Leiko Ikemura
2005 Arma Christi
2005 Hans Josephsohn
2005 Coptic Textiles
2005 Birgit Antoni
2004 Monika Bartholomé
2004 Max Cole
2003 Reliquary Crosses
2004 Heinrich Küpper
2003 Martin Frommelt
2003 150 Years!
2002 Attila Kovács
2002 Herbert Falken
2002 Peter Tollens
2001 ars vivendi
2001 Peter Zumthor
2000 Volume
2000 walkmen
2000 The Härle Donation
2000 Children's drawings
2000 About Reality
1999 Andor Weininger
1999 Joseph Marioni
1999 Andy Warhol
1998 Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
1998 Faith and Knowledge
1998 Stephan Baumkötter
1998 Bernd Ikemann
1998 Kabakov Pane a.o.
1998 Hildegard Domizlaff
1997 Cage Tsangaris a.o.
1997 Richard Serra
1997 Manos Tsangaris
1997 Kunst-Station
1997 Klaus vom Bruch
1997 About the Site: Kolumba
1996 About Ambivalence
1996 Chris Newman
1996 Peter Tollens
1996 Wolfgang Laib
1996 About Colour
1995 Early Christian Art
1995 Mischa Kuball
1995 Palace of Art
1995 Horn Falken Michals, a.o.
1995 Monika Bartholomé
1993 Tápies Thek Tuttle u.a.
1992 Vaticana
 

 
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KOLUMBA :: Exhibitions :: 2018 Michael Oppitz

4 May to 20 August 2018
Michael Oppitz
Mobile Myths

“Precision creates a beauty of its own. For which reason the precision I call for in ethnographies, whether visual or verbal, is an artistic practice.” (Michael Oppitz, 1981)

The point of departure for all of our exhibitions at Kolumba is our collection. This means that it is not always major works that determine exhibitions, which is very fortunate and gives us the chance to upend the normal systems of evaluation. What at first sight appeared to be no more than an unspectacular artists’ book by Michael Oppitz and Lothar Baumgarten, published in 1974 by Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf, set the ball rolling for a monographic project that presents the researches of the anthropologist and film maker Michael Oppitz.
His works elude any clear categorisation. They are concerned with among other things mythology and oral traditions, with the anthropology of religion and with visual anthropology. He is regarded in his field as a unique and charismatic figure. By and large he has avoided the halls of academe and devoted himself to extensive field research among small ethnic groups in the Himalayas. Right from the outset, his personal contacts with writers and artists, such as Lothar Baumgarten, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Candida Höfer and Sigmar Polke, provided the fuel for mutual inspiration. Michael Oppitz has also been acclaimed well beyond the boundaries of his discipline, in particular for his film Schamanen im Blinden Land [Shamans of the Blind Country], which after its premiere on 15 October 1980 in New York had an impact at the Berlin International Film Festival that can be felt to this day. As a precise description of the highly complex rituals of Himalayan spirit healers, Schamanen im Blinden Land convinces by a cineastic beauty that is rarely to be found in ethnographic films. The film interweaves the present with the mythic realities of ritual actions in an artistic way, thus enabling viewers to grasp how deeply our thoughts and actions today are rooted in the universe of origin narratives.
Taking as its starting point this 223 minute film epos, which will be shown in full in a newly restored version, the exhibition will present for the first time a selection of objects and documents that give a deep insight into Michael Oppitz’s researches, his working methods, and the genesis of the film. But it also follows the tracks that lead back to the time prior to making the film, and with that to the Rhineland of the 1970s, and brings together early, in part never shown projects that arose in collaboration with Lothar Baumgarten and through friendly exchanges with Marcel Broodthaers and others.
The exhibition is being mounted in close collaboration with Michael Oppitz and the media anthropologist and film maker Anja Dreschke. It will be accompanied by a wide programme of events.

Michael Oppitz *1942 in Silesia, grew up in Cologne, and now lives in Berlin. He studied anthropology, sociology and sinology at Berkeley, Bonn and Cologne. Since 1965 he has researched in Nepal (Sherpas and Magars), Naxi and Qiang (Yunnan and Sichuan), and has published numerous work on the ethnography of the Himalayas and on visual anthropology. From 1991 to his retirement in 2008 he was full Professor of Ethnology at the University of Zurich and director there of the Ethnographical Museum. His latest publication, Die Morphologie der Schamanentrommel (The Morphology of the Shaman Drum, Edition Voldemeer, 2013), presents in two copious volumes the practice and worldview of shamanism from the perspective of one sole object.