Dispatches from Moments of Calm
Author: Alexander Kluge
Photography by Gerhard Richter
Translated by Nathaniel McBride
9780857427021 | PB | pp. 172 | 2019 | Seagull Books
Dispatches from Moments of Calm brings stories and pictures together which exude a sense of calm – a meditative interval in the flurry that is life.
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On October 5, 2012, the German national newspaper Die Welt published its daily issue—but things looked . . . different. Quieter. The sensations of the day, forgotten as soon as they’re read, were missing, replaced with an unprecedented calm, extracted with care from the chaos of the contemporary.
That calm was the work of Gerhard Richter, who had been granted control over Die Welt for that single day, taking over and imprinting all 30 pages of the newspaper with his personal stamp: images from quiet moments amid unquiet times, the demotion of politics from its primary position, the privileging of the private and personal over the public, and, above all, artful, moving contrasts between sharpness and softness. He had created an unprecedented work of mass art.
Among the many people to praise the work was writer Alexander Kluge, who instantly began writing stories to accompany Richter’s images. This book, the second collaboration between Kluge and Richter, brings their stories and images together, along with new words and artworks created specifically for this volume. The result, Dispatches from Moments of Calm, is a beautiful, meditative interval in the otherwise unremitting press of everyday life, a masterpiece by two acclaimed artists working at the height of their powers.
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About the Contributors
The author is one of the major German fiction writers of the late twentieth century and an important social critic. As a filmmaker, he is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement. His awards include the Italian Literature Prize Isola d’Elba (1967), and almost every major German-language literary prize, including the Heinrich von Kleist Prize (1985), the Heinrich Böll Prize (1993) and the Schiller Memorial Prize (2001). He has also received the Georg Büchner Prize (2003), Germany’s highest literary award.
The Photographer is one of the most respected visual artists of Germany, and his seminal works include Atlas (1964), October 18, 1977 (1988) and Eight Grey (2002).
The translator is a writer who lives in London.
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