Date of birth
Country of residence
Country of origin
Heinrich Obst, which is the artistic name of Christian Straeling, was born in Washington D.C. and studied Fine Arts and Theater Stagecraft in Canada. In the early 80´s he moved to Vienna and after some time he moved to Antwerp where he developed his carreer.
Besides his artistic career he has also dedicated himself in art management creating the gallery “Inexistent” and the project spaces “AK-37”, the “Factor 44” and the “Buerau Gruzemayer”, that held many artistic projects in the city of Antwerp. From 2005 he directed the Museum and Archive “voor het Vlaamse Cultuurleven” (AMVC) and in 2011 the Museum H. Terilinckhuis in Brussels.
He has done numerous exhibitions and performance, mostly in Belgium and he edited various publications on arts, theory and research.
For Heinrich Obst, performances are -with his words- “a way to try out and to present short scenes, often as a videoclips, to be used in an installation or as part of a wider project… What had been a tool in the creative process had become a medium in itself (again – it was not intentional partly because I was a bit bored by ‘performance art’ for a while…) The tendency back to Cabaret Voltaire type situations rekindled my interest, and even though I still don’t se myself as a performance artist I do use the medium and find there are more interesting things “happening” and that the format has come of age and can be used anywhere / anytime – a freedom which I find essential”.
Interviewed by Johnny Amore in Antwerp