Käthe Kruse 

Käthe Kruse Danke! Die Tödliche Doris
Cooperation Galerie der Stadt Schwaz and KLANGSPUREN Schwaz


From 1982 to 1987, the artist Käthe Kruse was the drummer of Die Tödliche Doris, a conceptual musical band founded by Wolfgang Müller and Nikolaus Utermöhlen in 1979/1980 that also set foot into the fields of film, visual arts, literature, and performance. In the 1980s, Die Tödliche Doris was a leading element of the Non-Movement Geniale Dilletanten (sic!), which was influential not only in (West) Berlin but also way beyond. The subculture-festival of the same name that took place in the Tempodrom, a famous event venue in Berlin, in 1981, is considered one of the highlights of the alternative artistic scene of the 1980s. It was all about celebrating inability. Starting with the wrong spelling of the actual German word “Dilettantismus” it opposed the steady search for perfectionism. Die Tödliche Doris became a world-renowned performance and artistic group that was among other events invited to documenta 8 in Kassel, performed in the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and finally broke up as planned in 1987.

On the one hand, the exhibition shows one section with documentary material about Die Tödliche Doris, on the other hand it displays individual conceptual and experimental pieces by Käthe Kruse herself. Her “Do-it-yourself” approach is typical for the early punk and squatter movement and questions whether in the field of visual art, which is based on a commercialized differentiation of questions of form, there is a possibility to ignore their hierarchy of values – or even a need to do so. Her artistic work ranges from spatial design to painting, music and performance and always starts with appropriations or everyday items and objects found on the scene.
Käthe Kruse displays relicts, relics, and artefacts from her time with Die Tödliche Doris, but also discusses their heritage. Inside the Art Gallery, she will perform Lieder in Leder (“Songs in Leather”) while almost completely hidden inside a column made of leather, accompanied by her daughter Edda on the original leather drum set from the Die Tödliche Doris and commented by her second daughter Klara’s occasional interjections. The live version Lieder in Leder is based on the short a cappella songs from the legendary and highly valued Box Die Tödliche Doris – Chöre & Soli, published by the Berlin Kunst-Musik-Galerie gelbe MUSIK in 1983. Alongside a catalogue containing the 16 lyrics, the box is equipped with eight small, colourful vinyl records and a simple record player like the ones that used to be built into talking puppets.
Later that evening, in a Late Nite Lounge, installed inside the basement of the baroque Palais Enzenberg, Käthe Kruse will show her performance Krieg (“War”).

Text: Matthias Osterwold & Cosima Rainer
Translation: Christina Muigg
Photo: Doll Mohead
Exhibition views: Verena Nagl