The performance Che cosa è la filosofia. Heidegger e la questione tedesca. Concerto da tavolo [What philosophy is. Heidegger and the German question. Table concert] (1989) was first presented in L’Aquila, at the Studio d’Arte Quarto di Santa Giusta. The performance takes place around a large square table, where beer and sauerkraut are served. The actors cite verses from German poetry in the learned manner typical of the upper middle class. Suddenly, we can hear from the radio a voice speaking in Italian with a strong German accent, which reads an excerpt from the trial of Eichmann, a summing up of the economic value of Jewish body parts (hair, gold in the teeth,...).
Female performers changing every time dance for Heidegger, played four times by the Italian philosopher Giacomo Marramao. They successfully try to engage him: society often teases culture, and sometimes it wins as well.
The rhythm of the performance is interrupted by a cellist playing 12-tone music, which freezes the scene, the actors and the audience. The contrast is striking: Germany gave us one of the highest cultural and philosophical tradition but, at the same time, it produced atrocious abysses of death.
The co-existence of German folk music and radio broadcasts on the Nazi tortures of the Jews inevitably shakes the (partially already historical) conscience of the audience, which is familiar with these often heard, sometimes experienced episodes.
This is the only performance in which Mauri appears on stage: as author, he is unsure whether he made is point. At the end, he steps onto the table-stage and reads a short text about the performance itself, in which he concludes that “good and evil speak the same language”: this is why it is so difficult to separate them according to their ends, which can be identified only in a teleological light.
Exhibition dates and venues
1989 – Centro Multimediale Quarto di S. Giusta, Accademia di Belle Arti, L’Aquila
1990 – Galleria Carini, Florence
1993 – Inside out, Museo Pecci, Prato; Retrospective of performances, curated by Ida Panicelli
1994 - Retrospective Fabio Mauri. Opere e Azioni 1954 - 1994 [Fabio Mauri. Works and Actions 1954 - 1994], National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome, curated by Carolyn Christov Bakargiev, supervised by Augusta Monferini
2012 – dOCUMENTA (13), Hauptbahnhof, Kassel, directed by Carolyn Christov Bakargiev
Che cosa è la filosofia. Heidegger e la questione tedesca. Concerto da tavolo 1989
Ho deciso di porre in atto questa scena per non perdere la mano. Sono miei temi e atti di anni che vanno dal 1970 al 1980. “Che cosa è la filosofia. Heidegger e la questione tedesca. Concerto[...]
Ho deciso di porre in atto questa scena per non perdere la mano.
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