26 April 2005


Mauersprünge: Kunst und Kultur der 80er Jahre in Deutschland

Martin-Gröpius-Bau, Berlin, 15.3.-4.5.2003

This exhibition presented 1980s GDR culture and 1980s FRG culture, including paintings, sculpture, and film, as fundamentally in dialogue. Its novelty lay in bringing out East-West interconnections which preceded, and perhaps in some sense prepared the way for, unification. The title of the exhibition referred to cultural exchange and influence crossing the political barrier between the two German states; works were located in the specific historical context of the 1980s. Information about writers’ and artists’ lives and practice was presented as a series of “Mauersprünge” – either in terms of cultural influences, the reception of their art, the themes their work addressed, or their own visits to the ‘other’ Germany. “Künstlermappen” by, for instance, Jörg Immendorf, were included, art inspired by Christa Wolf’s Kassandra and Günter Grass’s Die Blechtrommel, as well as paintings thematizing German division. One piece consisted of the GDR flag in pickling jars; another, entitled Flaschenpost is a cabinet of bottles with letters in them from GDR fans of a pop group unable to appear in the GDR. The destruction of the Berlin Wall marked a change in the course of several histories, not least the history of art, but perhaps it is equally true that the Wall came down several times in the 1980s, just as much as it remained standing in a certain fashion after 1989.