Book look: Hape Kerkeling

One of Germany’s most popular entertainers is once more dominating the bookselling charts.

As he turns 50, Hape Kerkeling reflects on his life, especially his childhood in his new book, “Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich”.hk

The autobiography has reached number one in the sales lists, eight years after Kerkeling – who made his debut on the screen 30 years ago – presented what would become one of the biggest bestsellers in Germany of all time. Almost five million copies have so far been sold by the TV star’s book “Ich bin dann mal weg. Meine Reise auf dem Jakobsweb”, in which he shares his personal pilgrimage experiences.

Now the former “Darüber lacht die Welt” presenter denied feeling like a legend. “Shouldn’t you have achieved much more as a showbiz legend? I’d feel quite old being called a legend,” he told Austrian magazine profil.

Kerkeling, whose mother committed suicide when he was only eight years old, also dismissed claims that all of his projects succeeded instantly. He said: “’Kein Pardon’ was probably the worst German film ever screened in Austria.”

Asked whether the era of the big Saturday night television shows is over, the Recklinghausen-born comedian said: “Probably, yes. However, it is possible to get the people to sit around this electronic bonfire again.”

Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich
By Hape Kerkeling
Published by Piper (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Welcome to the Weibel wonderland

Controversial, confusing and chaotic – but never nonsensical or boring. Peter Weibel’s impressive oeuvre is under investigation at a museum in Vienna.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

The so-called media rebel’s creations have always sparked mixed reactions – and blunt opposition by conservative critics and audiences. One of Austria’s leading artists, he already experimented with modern media in the 1960s and 1970s.

His installations feature various objects consisting of different materials but also films, photographs and audio effects. To see all of these creations in one large exhibition space is an extraordinary experience – if not a life-changing one, as the subheading of the current 21er Haus exhibit claims.

Works of art created by Weibel – who recently turned 70 – between 1964 and 2014 are on display at the gallery located near Vienna’s new main station. The range of topics SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAand approaches is truly impressive.

“Warnung! Diese Ausstellung kann Ihr Leben verändern” features an old Mercedes which Weibel turned into a state carriage by stretching the Austrian flag across the backseat. Photos of the stunt are on display too. Other images portray street projects by Weibel and Valie Export, another influential multimedia artist who is still active.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Horizons & humanity

“Horizons” is a collection of around 150 landscape and city photographs by Sze Tsung Leong. The British-American artist, who is based in Los Angeles horizonsand New York, took pictures in countries all over the world. Sticking to wide angle shots, Leong created unusual portraits of places like Istanbul, Quito, Astana and Rome. On his images, bustling megacities like Tokyo appear calm and fragile. Spectators have to make up their minds as Leong avoided stressing any positive or negative aspects. Blocks of flats, huge advertisements and skyscrapers – his photographs illustrate reality. Apart from some exceptions such as dense fog at the Great Wall, the weather conditions appear to be the same everywhere. The sky is neither blue nor grey. These neutral, objective circumstances make “Horizons” to some kind of quiz as many cities are hard to identify at a glance. While urban areas dominate the selection of photos, images of grazing cows in Belgium and some other idyllic scenes increase the variety in this extraordinary picture book.

By Sze Tsung Leong
Published by Hatje Cantz (

Thanks to the Hollywood hit from 1993 by Steven Spielberg, the world knows about the admirable achievements of Oskar Schindler. The biographies of Schindler and Anton Schmid, wettea German sergeant, feature remarkable similarities. Schmid attempted to save as many lives as well – and eventually paid with his own. In his new book, Freiburg University historian Wolfram Wette reconstructs the actions of Schmid. The Viennese soldier – who was executed in 1942 – managed to rescue hundreds of members of the local Jewish community during his engagement in Lithuania. Like Schindler, Schmid pretended to need workforce for various urgent work orders. At the same time, he provided the Jews – who might have get killed otherwise – with essential documents. Wette, who previously released books about the Wehrmacht and militarism in Germany, created an intense and touching portrait of an outstanding personality.

Feldwebel Anton Schmid. Ein Held der Humanität
By Wolfram Wette
Published by S. Fischer (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Artful attractions

Contemporary art, precious antiques and exclusive furniture are on display in Vienna where a renowned fair is taking place for the 146th time.

The city’s Art & Antique Fair ( – which is located at Hofburg Palace – ends today, 7pm, after nine days of discussions, trading and special tours four kids. The event, which featured free-entrance women’s and men’s days, has developed into one of Europe’s most important fairs for paintings, jewellery and watches.

Situated at the Hofburg, the trade show is taking place in the heart of the Austrian capital. Hundreds of visitors are expected for the final afternoon of this year’s exhibitions today. Organisers have managed to attract a young audience as children and students younger than 27 can visit the fair free of charge.

A painting by Alfons Walde and a flowerpot by designer Josef Hoffmann are among the outstanding objects on display in 2014 when 50 art agencies and galleries present their treasures.

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Greek mythology and French novels

A German publishing house has released a spectacularly comprehensive book about ancient Greek mythology. “Die Mythologie der Griechen” by Hungarian expert Karl Kerenyi klettdescribes the main characters in Greek storytelling, their relations and influence. Kerenyi – whose book was praised by Thomas Mann and Erhard Kästner when it was published as a two-volume edition for the first time in the 1950s – analyses various aspects of the myths of ancient Greece. His 800-page tome is essential for anyone interested in getting to know the subject in detail thanks to its vast amount of precise information. Other important publications by Klett-Cotta are “Kriegsenkel. Die Erben der vergessenen Generation” by Sabine Bode and “Krebs. Die unsterbliche Krankheit” by Martin Bleif. Wile Bode interviewed Germans born between 1960 and 1975 to find out how they dealt with their elder relatives’ experiences in World War Two, Bleif delivers a clear examination of the various kinds of cancer. On 500 pages, the internationally renowned expert on the disease manages to connect scientific facts with helpful advices to people suffering from cancer and their relatives. Nearly 20,000 Austrians die from cancer each year. The sickness is the cause for 25 per cent of all deaths in the country.

Die Mythologie der Griechen. Götter, Menschen & Heroen
By Karl Kerenyi
Published by Klett-Cotta (

After several tough lessons of focused grammar training, the need for distraction can be immense. A special edition of French novels by Langenscheidt enable readers to merge bellediversion with learning. The series of stories includes classic romantic novels like “La Belle et la Bete” by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and historical novels such as Alexandre Dumas’ “La Tulipe Noire”. All editions are especially edited and rearranged for people with other mother languages. After each chapter, the 90-page books offer various exercises based on the plot as well as different grammatical aspects. The decision to add CDs turn these illustrated books into highly attractive offers for young learners who have not yet endorsed French. Furthermore, the novels are an ideal addition to Langenscheidt’s comprehensive language learning programme which features dictionaries, conversation guides for travellers, quiz books, calendars and much more.

La Tulipe Noire
By Alexandre Dumas
Published by Langenscheidt (

La Belle et la Bete
By Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Published by Langenscheidt (

Une etrange disparation
By Juliette Blanche et Sarah Guilmault
Published by Langenscheidt (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Genius Giacometti

Giacometti = (just) sculptures. A common assumption is drastically extended by a new exhibition in Vienna.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Alberto Giacometti, the Swiss superstar of modern art, is being focused on by curators at the Leopold Museum in Vienna’s Museumsquartier. While his sculptures still manage to impress, organisers of the exhibit managed to expand the range of topics.

“Alberto Giacometti. Pionier der Moderne” (Alberto Giacometti. Modernist Pioneer) also features several drawings, including a self-portrait from 1923 which depicts the creator as a statuesque figure. Further significant works of art are portraits of his mother, to whom he always was very close. Apart from his own drawings and sculptures, the special exhibition also includes oil on canvas paintings by his father, Giovanni Giacometti, and paintings by other influential artists of the 20th century, including Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso (“Head, female bust”, 1940)

An immensely enriching part of the exhibition is the photography room. Renowned photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rene Burri and the Austrian Franz Hubmann portrayed Giacometti in his Paris studio – neatly dressed, surrounded by dusty, unfinished sculptures and tools.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: workout and Winter Olympics

Fitness expert Marco Santoro has presented a new book packed with nutrition advices and varied exercises. “Die Fitmacher-Formel”, released in cooperation with sports and health journalist Gela Brüggemann,fitmacher offers a comprehensive guide to a healthier lifestyle. Santoro not only introduces his new own programme SIT (short intensive training). He also informs readers about how they can improve their diet. Santoro collected many recipes for delicious but healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners. His 60-day regime includes a broad range of exercises created to improve people’s overall fitness. Furthermore, each part of the programme aims at certain muscles. Explaining his principles, Santoro stresses that there is no gain without pain: “Test your limits,” he appeals on readers. The personal coach – whose client list also features some German showbiz personalities – also warns from believing different workout myths. Thanks to the comprehensive nutrition navigator and the large number of photographs of exercises, “Die Fitmacher-Formel” is an ideal product for everyone interested in getting in better shape.

Die Fitmacher-Formel
By Marco Santoro and Gela Brüggemann
Published by Südwest (

The decision to organise the events in a seaside resort might have been controversial. The political message of awarding the 22nd Olympic Winter Games to Russia has been harshly sochicriticised by many. However, the sportive aspects managed to convince fans and media. Exciting competitions and memorable challenges keep in mind. “Sotschi 2014. Die Olympischen Winterspiele” looks back on the excitement in Sochi in February 2014. Detlef Vetten and Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen created a 17-day diary to highlight the most important fights for gold. Fantastic photographs are featured as well to document the sensational downhill triumph by Matthias Mayer and the many other surprising victories. The book also focuses on the big disappointments as several favourites failed to live up to the high expectations. A comprehensive statistics section – including a medals table – reveals how well Russia and Norway performed. The host country took first place with 33 medals, including 13 gold, followed by the Scandinavian nation and Canada. The United States only reached fourth place. Germany finished in sixth, while Austria took ninth place.

Sotschi 2014. Die Olympischen Winterspiele
By Detlef Vetten and Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Hauser and Henniges

A German journalist has created a very special collection of travel advice. Francoise Hauser – who studied in Germany, Taiwan and China – explains a large number of vital rules for holidaymakers. Her new hauserbook “In 80 Fettnäpfchen um die Welt” contains amusing information about unusual regulations and unwritten rules abroad. Hauser warns tourists from making complete fools of themselves. The writer not only provides facts about dinner traditions, drinking habits and punctuality; she also informs about potential online communication gaffes. Overall, “In 80 Fettnäpfchen um die Welt” is an entertaining conglomeration of tips for travelling around the world.

In 80 Fettnäpfchen um die Welt. Womit man sich im Ausland so richtig blamiert
By Francoise Hauser
Published by Piper (

Rolf Henniges did numerous journeys between 1987 and 1999. Writing for different magazines, the German journalist visited several African countries as well as Australia. Now the Göttingen-born author went on the road again. His new book “Endstation Abfahrt” tells from his latest trip to Africa by motorcycle. Henniges writes about the many funny, interesting and bizarre encounters henningesin Morocco, Algeria and other countries. He also took several photographs to get readers closer to his intense travelling adventure.

Endstation Abfahrt
By Rolf Henniges
Published by Knecht Verlag (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Girls, girls, girls

Surprising insights are offered at the Bank Austria (BA) Kunstforum’s new blockbuster exhibition.1

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris cabaret and night club posters are famous and an important part of the city’s souvenir industry. However, the artist – who was born 150 years ago – also created extraordinary series of paintings before he became the darling of the nightlife of Paris.

Visitors of the exhibition at the Viennese gallery – which recently presented the oeuvre of contemporary Austrian artist Siegfried Anzinger – get to see several precise portraits and hunting scenes before entering the main showroom where his large event posters are on display. The Montmartre spirit seems so close here.

Later on, the focus is on Toulouse-Lautrec himself. Photographs depict the artist – a heavy drinker who died aged 36 – in his studio, dressed up for a fancy dress party and during a walk through Paris. While his posters showing the girls of different Paris nightclubs may seem unfinished due to the vast unused spaces of carton, his early oeuvre is even more intense and minute. Focusing on this contrast is the greatest achievement of the exhibit curator, Evelyn Benesch.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

“Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Der Weg in die Moderne” (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Path to Modernism) is on display now. The exhibition catalogue of the same name – a brilliant 250-page release with lots of background information – is out now by Kehrer.



::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas