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What's On at Europe's Museums

Berlin looks at Jewish contributions to early film, Budapest examines former dissident scenes in Eastern Europe, Italian artist Gianni Motti boggles minds in Zurich and Kurt Schwitters' works on show in Poland.


Italian artist Gianni Motti's "Plausible Deniability"

Jews in the Early Film World

New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation

Just days before Berlin’s annual film festival, the Berlinale kicks off, an exhibition showcasing the role of Jews in the early world of film has opened at the "New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation" in the German capital. Called "Pioneers in Celluloid – Jews in the Early Film World (1910-1925)," the show takes a look at the Jewish contribution to silent film and features authors, actors, producers and directors involved in their making as well as reflecting on Jewish themes in the genre. The exhibition turns the spotlight on figures such as the German-born Jewish director, Ernst Lubitsch, who went on to become a Hollywood legend. The exhibition also features a multimedia show and a series of silent films.

The exhibition "Pioneers in Celluloid – Jews in the Early Film World (1910-1925) will run through May 15. Open from Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday closed.

Spotlight on Eastern Europe’s Dissident Scene

Millenáris Park, Budapest

The Millenáris Park in Budapest, Hungary, is featuring an exhibition on the former East European dissident scene. Called "Samizdat – Alternative Culture in Central and Eastern Europe", the show exhibits around 600 underground publications--both political and cultural--from the former Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland, the GDR and the former Czechoslovakia dating from the 1960s to the 80s. The documents stem from the Bremen-based Research Center for Eastern Europe. The display also includes the founding declaration of the Czech citizens’ movement Charta 77, handbills of the Polish Solidarity movement as well as underground editions of literary works by former Czech leader Vaclav Havel.

The exhibition "Samizdat – Alternative Culture in Central and Eastern Europe" runs through May 2. Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Confusing Reality

Migros Museum for Contemporary Art, Zurich

The Migros Museum for Contemporary Art in Zurich is showing the latest installation by maverick Italian performance artist Gianni Motti called "Plausible Deniability". This work by the artist, who was born in 1958 and who now lives in Geneva, consists of a 500-meter-long empty course bordered by wooden slabs. The labyrinthine route winds around numerous corners, with the result that the visitor loses the way and finally lands in a car garage. Motti is notorious for confusing his audience. He has celebrated his own funeral, masqueraded as a professional soccer player, spoken in the name of the people of Indonesia at the U.N. Human Rights Convention and, according to his own account, caused earthquakes.

The exhibition "Plausible Deniability" runs through March 21. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Schwitters Retrospective

Art Museum Sztuki, Lodz

The Art Museum Sztuki in the Polish city of Lodz is displaying graphics, collages and sculptures by German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887- 1948). He was associated with the Dada movement and his work was banned by the Nazis as "degenerate." One of the highlights of the show is a copy of the abstract construction "Merzbau" that was reconstructed from photographs taken from before World War Two. The original was destroyed during a war-time bombing of Schwitter’s home town of Hanover. Stretching from a subterranean cistern out through an attic skylight to a platform on the roof, the Merzbau formed a cathedral-like conduit between earth and the heavens, reflecting alchemist enterprise and German nature mysticism.

The exhibition runs through Feb. 29, Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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