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Schlaget auf

© Carolee Schneemann. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Schlaget auf

Artist: Carolee Schneemann (born in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania, 1939–2019)
Culture: American
Date: 1970
Medium: Gelatin silver prints, ink, and graphite on paper
19 1/4 × 41 inches (48.9 × 104.1 cm)
Classification: Mixed Media
Credit Line: Gift of Kristine Stiles
Label Text:Carolee Schneemann is a groundbreaking multidisciplinary artist best-known for her performance art, video and film since the 1960s. Her work explores archaic visual traditions, taboos, transgression, sexuality, and gender. She has been associated with Fluxus, Neo-Dada, and happenings.

This is part of a group of four framed works composed of 10 original photographs with collage elements and Schneemann's handwritten notes in pencil. The photographs document a performance in 1970 at the Fluxus Fluxorum Festival at the Forum Theater in Berlin. Schlaget Auf! is a German verb meaning to beat, strike, hit, bang, and fall. Aufschlagen can mean to burst out laughing, or to break open, as open a book, one's eyes, or heart. The title Schlaget Auf was a mistaken interpretation of Bach's Cantata, No. 53, Schlage doch, gewunschte stunde, a recording sung by Hilde Roessel-Majden. It is also loaded with significance for her, as she received the record as a gift from composer James Tenney, her husband for over a decade, and the performance reflected her nostalgia for Tenney, from whom she was by then estranged.

In Schneemann's performance she instructed German artist Ludwig Gosewitz to play the bells section of the Bach Cantata repeatedly and to drop the needle onto the record at intervals that he found appropriate. As Schneemann spoke in English, a German scholar simultaneously translated her words into medieval German, highlighting the textual and linguistic complexity of the piece.
Object number: 2009.11.2