Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):
When Christoph Schlingensief was diagnosed with cancer in early 2008 everything went upside down, but his work continued thriving. His drive to disrupt the normative perception as well as to point out social ills is especially evident in his visualisation of ill and dying people. With his intention of appealing and activating the collective he fits in with the concern of the historical avant-gardes: the connection of art and daily life, the rise of a political consciousness in terms of social issues and further the deconstruction of the topos of the ingenious artist. Compared to selected pieces of work by related artists it is striking that Schlingensief’s art goes beyond the codes of common artistic self-representation of illness as he combines it with self-initiated social projects. In his approach Schlingensief represents a hybrid in two different spheres; between life and death and individual and society. Thus he lives in the awareness of soon being inescapably dead and secondly he acts as an hybrid between the roles of self-authorized prophet and omnipotent God. On both levels he fights with the opposites of disappearance and presence - which are finally reconciled in his last project, the Operndorf Afrika.