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Beckett on Television

The exhibition brings together Beckett’s German television plays, works by contemporary artists and archival materials

18 October - 19 January 2025


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Image courtesy SWR Historisches Archiv

Image courtesy SWR Historisches Archiv

The exhibition Beckett on Television brings together for the first time Samuel Beckett’s seven seminal German television works, alongside works by contemporary artists and newly discovered photographs and archival documents. Made for the Stuttgart-based broadcasting corporation Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) between 1966 and 1985, He, Joe, 1966, Geistertrio, 1977, … nur noch Gewölk …, 1977, Quad I and II, 1981, Nacht und Träume, 1982, and Was Wo, 1985, have left a legacy which has been widely acknowledged but never been properly historicised. Through what he called his ‘crazy inventions for TV’, Beckett invented an entirely new language, one made up of images and spaces.

Central to the exhibition are the newly discovered photographs and documents on loan from SWR Historisches Archiv that chronicle in detail Beckett’s working methods at the television station over a period spanning more than twenty years. Production notebooks, letters, call sheets and behind the scenes photographs, capture Beckett directing performers, specifying camera angles, and engaging in conversation with crew members.

The most significant aspect of this legacy is inarguably the enormous influence Beckett’s German television works have yielded upon contemporary art.  A selection of contemporary film and video works that directly respond to the themes explored by Beckett at SDR will be shown alongside his television works for the first time.

Gerard Byrne is an internationally known Irish artist, and Professor of film at Städelschule, Frankfurt since 2019. Working frequently with photography, film, performance, or multi-screen installations Byrne has a longstanding engagement with Beckett’s legacy. Byrne has exhibited widely, including many biennials, and monographic museum shows.

Dr. Judith Wilkinson is an Irish curator and art writer, and a recognised authority on Samuel Beckett. Her writing has been published in Artforum, e-flux Criticism, Journal of Beckett Studies and New Beckett Studies among other publications. Her book Samuel Beckett: Contemporary Artist will be published by Bloomsbury in 2025. She is Visiting Tutor at National College of Art and Design, Dublin since 2019.


Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Schlossplatz 2
70173 Stuttgart

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