Kurt Forster – Day at the Office, Night at the Opera with Karl Friedrich

Lecture date: 1997-01-28

Kurt Forster makes an assessment of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s ideas on theatre and architecture. Schinkel characterized his passionate preoccupation with things theatrical as ‘an inclination I have felt since adolescence for the pictorial treatment of the stage’. His extensive experience with the design of panoramas, theatres and stage sets kept him professionally active during the lean years of the French occupation of Berlin and endowed him with the capacity to invent images with a ‘dramatic meaning of destruction and creation’. His architectural projects, no less than his paintings, exercise their effect on the viewer by means of a forcible dislocation.

Schinkel’s artistic strategy turned real and imaginary places into sites of poetic displacement. Taking Schinkel’s Berlin Schauspielhaus as a point of departure, Forster extends this notion of poetic displacement to the whole of his urban projects. Kurt Forster was formerly Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the ETH Zurich and Director of the CCA in Montreal.

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