In the World
In the Cloud
In Philadelphia

Ecstatic Truth

an exhibition featuring work by Werner Herzog, accompanied by images of the filmmaker by photographer Beat Presser


Fields of Knowledge
  • Artistic legacies
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

International House Philadelphia


Aaron Levy, Timothy Corrigan


The Cinema Studies Program (UPenn), The Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania, the Department of German (UPenn), The Jerry and Emily Spiegel Funds in Fine Arts, The Roy Niuta Titus Foundation, The Society of Friends of the Slought


Very special thanks for organizing the Werner Herzog's Fall 2007 visit at the University of Pennsylvania goes to Paul Holdengräber, Nathaniel Kahn, Nicola M. Gentili, Timothy Corrigan, and Karen Beckman

Opens to public



7:30-8:30 pm




4017 Walnut
Philadelphia, PA 19104


100% Formal - 0% Informal

Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Slought are pleased to announce an exhibition featuring work by Werner Herzog, accompanied by images of the filmmaker by photographer Beat Presser. In conjunction with the exhibition opening, a public conversation between Werner Herzog and Karen Beckman will take place on Thursday, October 25, 2007 from 7:30-8:30pm. The exhibition will be on display in the Slought Foundation galleries from October 22 through November 15, 2007. The exhibition will include manifestos, films, and photographs that engage Herzog's continued explorations of "ecstatic truth" and the boundary between fiction and documentary practice.

"In my 'documentaries' I have constantly explored the intensified truths of the situations that I have found myself in and of the characters I have met, whether it be abused people who lose their speech in Lessons of Darkness or the chain-smoking African chimp of Echoes from a Sombre Empire. [...] The real Fitzcarraldo moved a far lighter boat from one river system to the next, but he disassembled the boat into little pieces and got some engineers to reassemble it later on. But for what we did there was no precedent in technical history, and no book of instructions we could refer to. And you know, probably no one will ever need to do again what we did. I am a Conquistador of the Useless." -- Werner Herzog, Herzog on Herzog, 241/179 (2002)

For more information on other events and activities organized around Werner Herzog's Fall 2007 visit, organized by the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, please visit Please note that a public conversation about the work of Werner Herzog will also take place on Monday, October 22, 2007 from 6:30-8:00pm at Slought, featuring Timothy Corrigan, Thomas Y. Levin, Heidi Schlipphacke, and Alan Singer in a conversation introduced by Karen Beckman.

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Since 1980, Basel-based photographer Beat Presser has collaborated closely with the German filmmaker Werner Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski, as still photographer for notable films such as Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde, and Invincible. His works have been shown in many international exhibitions. In 2007-2008, "Oasis of Silence" will be on display at the Patravadi Theater in Bangkok. His photographs will also be on exhibit at the Beyeler Foundation and at the Tinguely Museum, Basel. His many catalogues and publications include Klaus Kinski-portrayed by Beat Presser (2000) and Werner Herzog (Arte Edition) (2003).

Werner Herzog, one of the most influential filmmakers in New German Cinema, was born in Munich in 1942. Herzog has gained notoriety not only for his fantastic narratives but also for pushing himself and his crew to unprecedented lengths in order to achieve the effects he demanded. He has produced, written, and directed more than forty films, published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. Herzog's works explore the boundary between fiction and documentary practice, and aim for "ecstatic truth" in the form of an event-based dynamic and "the feeling of being an observer dragged into the scene." In lieu of a filmography, Slought Foundation is pleased to reproduce below Herzog's "Minnesota declaration," a series of principles outlining his practice, originally presented in a 1999 appearance at the Walker Art Center on the occasion of a 14-film retrospective at that museum.