Herbert Achternbusch (1938-2022)
Photo: teutopress / IMAGO
The artistic work of Herbert Achternbusch was often compared to that of Karl Valentin - both came unmistakably from Bavaria, both had a bizarre sense of humor, both rubbed shoulders with authorities.
As reported by the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and the Bayerischer Rundfunk, citing companions and friends, Herbert Achternbusch died at the beginning of the week at the age of 83.
Born in Munich in 1938, Achternbusch grew up in the Bavarian Forest with his grandmother.
He studied at the art academy in Nuremberg and got by with odd jobs, including selling cigarettes at the Munich Oktoberfest.
In the mid-1960s he published his first volumes of etchings and poetry.
Achternbusch subsequently worked in a wide variety of genres.
At an early age he acted himself, made films, wrote novels, published and staged plays and painted.
His artistic production met with mixed reactions; in addition to a series of awards, some works were banned.
Burned price and a scandal film
Herbert Achternbusch first achieved national fame in the early seventies with prose ("The Battle of Alexander"), before turning increasingly to the cinema in the middle of the decade. In 1977 the film "Bierkampf" caused a sensation with numerous drunken Oktoberfest visitors as involuntary amateur actors. In the same year he burned the Petrarca Prize donated by the magazine "Bunte" and awarded by Peter Handke and left the event under protest.
Achternbusch caused a scandal with »Das Gespenst« (1983). In the film, Jesus descends from the cross and opens a pub together with the matron of a monastery, played by Annamirl Bierbichler. The Federal Minister of the Interior at the time, Friedrich Zimmermann (CSU), refused to pay out the last installment of funding for the film on the grounds that the “42 descended from the cross”. Lord God" violates the "religious feeling of large parts of the population".
After a legal dispute that went through several instances, the Münster Higher Administrative Court ruled in favor of the artist in 1992.
In between there were years of ostracism: television companies did not broadcast Achternbusch's films or cut out passages, funding bodies ignored him.
It was not until October 1993 that there was a retrospective film on ARD, although "Servus Bayern" (1977) was not based on intervention by Bavarian Broadcasting.
Achternbusch has been a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts since 1994, and in 2010 he received the Kassel Literature Prize for grotesque humor.
On the occasion of his 75th birthday, Achternbusch announced that he had stopped working as an artist.
When asked if he was suffering from the fact that his artistic production had slacked, he replied: "Slacked?
One can also say “completed”.