Birgit Hein

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Birgit Hein
Born (1942-08-06) 6 August 1942 (age 80)
OccupationFilm director, producer and screenwriter
Years active1967–present
SpouseWilhelm Hein

Birgit Hein (born 6 August 1942) is a German film director, producer, performance artist, university professor, and screenwriter who has made experimental films since 1960s, with her then husband Wilhem Heim.[1]


Hein was born in Berlin in 1942.[2] With her structural films (since 1966), performances, documentary film essays and film study publications, she is considered one of the decisive pioneers of German underground and experimental films. In 1964, she married Wilhelm Hein (Separated in 1988, divorced in 1995),[3] with whom she collaborated on several experimental film projects.[2] In 1968, she co-founded XSCREEN,[4] an exhibition space in Cologne.[5] In 1993, Hein won the German Film Critics Association Best Experimental Film Award for her film Die Unheimlichen Frauen.[6][7]

Hein studied art history and theater studies at the University of Cologne in the early 1960s. From 1966 to 1988 she worked with Wilhelm Hein producing films and working on performances with him. She was represented with two film works, together with Wilhelm Hein within Documenta V in Kassel in 1972, a worldwide exhibition of influential art after World War II.[8] Their combined work was presented in different retrospectives, e.g. in the Anthology Archives, New York (1974), in the Filmmuseum Frankfurt (1985) as well as in Cologne (1988) and in Copenhagen (1989). In the 1970s they organized and curated of several exhibitions on experimental film, e.g. Art Remains Art (Cologne 1974), Film As Film (Cologne, Berlin, Essen, Stuttgart 1977) and Film As Film (London 1979). For the Goethe-Institut they toured in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India (1987) and took part in the International Experimental Film Congress Toronto (1989).

In Cologne she was art founder of XScreen for subculture performances and program work for diverse cinemas. In the 1970s, she taught film art assignments at various universities (including the Cologne factory schools). She undertook a number of important curatorial projects, including the groundbreaking film section at Documenta VI.[6] Birgit Hein has been a professor at the Braunschweig University of Art since 1990, retiring in 2007.

Many premieres of her films at the Forum des Junge Films, Berlin Film Festival (1986, 1992, 1995) as well as television broadcasts (e.g. Baby, I Will Make You Sweat, 1997) and acquisitions of film collections (e.g. Musée d'Art Moderne - Center Pompidou, 1999). She has had several exhibitions of her works, e.g. Montreal 2000, Rotterdam 2000, Madrid 2002 and the Arsenal Berlin 2003.[9]

Since 2007 she has been a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin, and since 2012 she has been deputy director of the visual arts section.[1]




  1. ^ a b Foster, p.176
  2. ^ a b Büttenbender, Gerhard. "Birgit Hein - Ihr leben". Official site. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  3. ^ "Rohfilm | Raw Film". Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  4. ^ a b Halle, Randall (2017-05-13). "Xscreen 1968: material film aesthetics and radical cinema politics". The Sixties: 1–16. doi:10.1080/17541328.2017.1320884. ISSN 1754-1328. S2CID 148898994.
  5. ^ "After the Avant-garde: Participants". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  6. ^ a b Halle, Randall (2014-06-01). The Europeanization of Cinema. University of Illinois Press. doi:10.5406/illinois/9780252038457.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-252-03845-7.
  7. ^ Die unheimlichen Frauen, retrieved 2020-04-14
  8. ^ "documenta 5 - Retrospective - documenta". Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  9. ^ Roddy, Bernard (2012-11-01). "The Translator's Echo: Listening to Birgit Hein's Baby, I Will Make You Sweat". Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. 40 (3): 21–24. doi:10.1525/aft.2012.40.3.21. ISSN 0300-7472.
  10. ^ Hein, Birgit; Hein, Wilhelm (1983). "Superman and Wonderwoman: Filmperformance 1980-82". SubStance. 11 (4): 171. doi:10.2307/3684189. ISSN 0049-2426. JSTOR 3684189.


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