Skip to main content


We Don't Need to See Anything Out of the Ordinary. We Already See So Much.

Previous Next

The Donald Young Gallery is exhibiting the works of artist Thomas Schütte in February. On the occasion of Thomas Schütte’s visit to Chicago, the Goethe-Institut presents a symposium with Thomas Schütte, Jörg Kreienbrock, Susan Bernofsky, and Michal Pawel Markowski on Robert Walser's microscripts.

Thomas Schütte is best known for his sculpture, prints, drawings, and watercolors. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the world and is included in top museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Golden Lion Award at the 51st Venice Biennale. Schütte has had a long standing interest in Robert Walser's writings. For the symposium Schütte will pose the question why Walser's exquisite, interesting, and extensive writings could not sustain his existence and why he rather choose to disappear for nearly 40 years.

Jörg Kreienbrock will present "Bad Careers: Kafka (Not) Reading Walser." As early as 1909, Franz Kafka predicted Robert Walser’s (as well as his own) unsuccessful career as a writer. What does Kafka see in Walser’s work that makes such a prediction possible, and what does it mean to talk about literature in terms of success and failure, the great and the small, the healthy and the insane? Kreienbrock received his Ph.D. in 2005 from the Department of German at New York University. In 2006 he joined the German Department of Northwestern University as Assistant Professor. Professor Kreienbrock is the author of Kleiner. Feiner. Leichter: Nuancierungen zum Werk Robert Walsers.

Susan Bernofsky has translated six books by Robert Walser. She received the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize as well as awards and fellowships from the NEH, NEA, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Lannan Foundation. She currently serves as Chair of the PEN Translation Committee and teaches in the MFA program at Queens College of the City University of New York. Her most recent translation of Walser is Berlin Stories. The topic of Bernofsky’s presentation is "Secrets, Not Code: On Translating Robert Walser's Microscripts," reflections on the particular difficulties and quirks of microscript translation.

Michal Pawel Markowski, the Hejna Chair in Polish Language and Literature and head of the Slavic Department at UIC. He is author of books on literature and philosophy, a translator of Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, and Gilles Deleuze, and editor of Friedrich Schlegel's Fragments in Polish. Michal serves as the Artistic Director of the Joseph Conrad International Literary Festival in Krakow. The most recent edition of the Festival held an exhibition, discussion, and events on Robert Walser.

Recorded Sunday, February 26, 2012 at Goethe-Institut Chicago.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.