Adam Szymczyk, maverick thinker
It was bombshell with which Adam Szymczyk put the international art scene in a flurry for a short time in October 2014. The curator presented his concept for Documenta 14, the world’s most important exhibition of contemporary art. In 2017 the exhibition, whose home has been Kassel since 1955, will for the first time also be shown in Athens. The Greek capital will be a venue on equal footing. “In this way the Documenta will put its undisputed position as host in abeyance and assume the role of guest”, announced Szymczyk, its artistic director. The title of Documenta 14 is accordingly Learning from Athens. The exhibition means to make tangible the tension between north and south, says the Documenta boss, who was born in Poland in 1970.
Chris Dercon, newcomer
Chris Dercon wants nothing less than to make the Berlin Volksbühne the “Globe Theatre of the twenty-first century”. In 2017 the Belgian curator, born in 1958, succeeds Frank Castorf, who has been the intendant of the theatre since 1992 and so assumes the artistic direction of one of the leading German stages. Dercon’s appointment has not been greeted everywhere with approval. Far beyond Berlin, it has been said that, with Dercon, big money and the globalized art market has taken over the Volksbühne. The new intendant, who can look back on a brilliant international career as a museum director and cultural manager, will therefore have to prove himself and convince the cultural scene of his mettle.
Maren Ade, Oscar contender
In 2016 she was the star of the Cannes Film Festival; in 2017 she may conquer Hollywood and the rest of the film world. Toni Erdmann by the German director Maren Ade has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of “Best Foreign Film”. In it a music teacher with a pronounced proclivity for jokes pays a surprise visit to his successful daughter – and things get out of hand. The drama by Ade, who was born in 1976, has been well-received by reviewers and public alike. French critics were enthusiastic about the simultaneously highbrow and airy film, describing it as a “jewel” and “euphoric pill”.
Martin Schulz, homecomer
His passion for Europe has been witnessed by those who have followed live many sessions of the European Parliament. But now Martin Schulz is leaving the stage of European politics. The former President of the European Parliament is returning to national politics and campaigning for a seat in the German parliament in the 2017 Bundestag elections. He has been a member of the German Social Democratic Party since 1974. Fresh starts in different professions are nothing new for Schulz, who was born in 1955. In his home town of Würselen, near Aachen, he was first a bookseller and mayor. Then in Brussels he worked his way up to the top of the European Parliament. During this time, he sharpened his political profile and fixed himself in many people’s minds as an honest and authentic politician.
Sabine Eckhardt, digital boss
She takes great pleasure in issues of power”, Sabine Eckhardt has recently said about herself. This is only to be expected of a woman who she was appointed to the executive board of a major German media group at the beginning of 2017. The 44-year-old Eckhardt will now assume the duties of Chief Commercial Officer at ProSieben.Sat1 and direct the entire digital traffic of the concern. No easy task. Eckhardt, who grew up in Bremen and studied German philology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Pisa, is in charge of the TV advertising, digital commerce and data handling of the media group in Unterföhring near Munich. If she proves a success, this could serve as a recommendation for even higher tasks. In 2019 the Chairmanship of the Board will again be free.