A Glimpse Into the Art of East Germany
Art And Culture

A Glimpse Into the Art of East Germany

An exhibit of artworks created during 40 years of East German history could help Germans from east and west bridge the divide that still separates them 27 years after unification. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday opened an exhibition at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam near Berlin that seeks to illuminate how artists saw and represented themselves in a state that exercised tight control on talent, innovation and creativity. The exhibit is titled ‘Behind the Mask: Artists in the GDR’ (German Democratic Republic, or East Germany). It includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and other artworks created in the period between the state’s birth in 1949 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Reuters reported. ‘Behind the Mask’ is a 100-day event that will run through February 4. A statement on the website of the venue, Museum-barberini.com, says: “Artists in the GDR were caught between providing a role model and retreating into seclusion, between working within a prescribed framework and pursuing creative individuality. How did they reflect the way they saw their profession and their own take on the official mission to educate the public? This exhibition brings together self and group portraits, role projections and studio scenes to illustrate the critical gaze they turned upon themselves.” The exhibition shows that art cannot be reduced to ideological ascriptions. With this exhibition, Museum Barberini has begun to investigate its collection of GDR art, which still plays a marginal role in German art history. Building on in-house holdings, the show brings together over 100 works by 80 artists.


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