EAST SIDE STORIES

German Photographs 1950s-1980s

EXHIBITION Jan 16 — Apr 17, 2010

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941–2010)

Berlin, 1979

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1981-1982

22,6 x 33,7 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941–2010)

Berlin-Schöneweide, 1972

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1972

22,9 x 34,2 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941–2010)

Berlin, Palast der Republik, 1978

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1978

22,7 x 33,6 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Pauer, aus der Serie 'Berliner Jugendliche' / Pauer, from the series 'Berlin Teenagers', 1982

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1982

31,7 x 21,1 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Sabine, aus der Serie 'Berliner Jugendliche' / Sabine, from the series 'Berliner Jugendliche', 1981-1982

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1981-1982

32 x 21,2 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Esther aus der Serie 'Berliner Jugendliche' / Esther, from the series 'Berliner Jugendliche', 1981-1982

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1981-1982

32,3 x 21,6 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

WERNER MAHLER (*1950)

Untitled from the series 'Berka', 1977

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1977

22,9 x 34 cm

© Werner Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

WERNER MAHLER (*1950)

Berka, 1977

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1977

22,5 x 33,5 cm

© Werner Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

WERNER MAHLER (*1950)

Untitled from the series 'Berka', 1977

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1977

20,9 x 30,8 cm

© Werner Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

UTE MAHLER (*1949)

Ohne Titel (Polterabend), aus der Serie 'Zusammen Leben' / Untitled (Wedding-eve party) from the series 'Living Together', 1973

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1973

26 x 38,4 cm

© Ute Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

UTE MAHLER (*1949)

Ohne Titel (Zirkus Hein, Zwickau), aus der Serie 'Zusammen Leben' / Untitled from the series 'Living Together, 1973

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1973

25,7 x 38,9 cm

© Ute Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

EVELYN RICHTER (*1930)

Pförtnerin im Rathaus, Leipzig, c. 1975

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1975

21,9 x 32,4 cm

© Evelyn Richter Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

URSULA ARNOLD (1929–2012)

S-Bahn, Berlin, 1967

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1967

25,3 x 36,7 cm

© Ursula Arnold Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

URSULA ARNOLD (1929−2012)

S-Bahn, Berlin, 1966

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1967

24 x 35,8 cm

© Ursula Arnold Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

URSULA ARNOLD (1929−2012)

Berlin, S-Bahn, 1965

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1965

25,4 x 35,8 cm

© Ursula Arnold Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ARNO FISCHER (1927−2011)

West-Berlin, 1959

gelatin silver print, printed later

27,2 x 40 cm

© Erbengemeinschaft Arno Fischer / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941−2010)

Berlin, Bernauer / Ecke Ackerstraße, 1990

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1990

16,5 x 25,4 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

URSULA ARNOLD (1929−2012)

Leipzig, 1956

gelatin silver print, early print

38,3 x 25,5 cm

© Ursula Arnold Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

UTE MAHLER (*1949)

Untitled from the series 'Living Together', 1973

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1973

30,5 x 45,5 cm

© Ute Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ARNO FISCHER (1927−2011)

Müritz, 1956, 1956

gelatin silver print, printed c. 195

29,6 x 39,4 cm

© Erbengemeinschaft Arno Fischer / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Stilleben / Still Life, 1985

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1985

24,9 x 37,1 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941−2010)

Untitled (Kirsten, Hoppenrade), 1975

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1975

23,2 x 34,4 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Frauen (Selbstportrait) / Women (Self Portrait in Mirror), 1971

unique gelatin silver print, printed c. 1971

24 x 18,1 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HELGA PARIS (*1938)

Rangsdorf (Kinder mit Masken) / Rangsdorf (Children with Masks), 1968

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1971

34,2 x 23 cm

© Helga Paris / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

UTE MAHLER (*1949)

Mecklenburg, 1984

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1984

33,3 x 22,4 cm

© Ute Mahler / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

URSULA ARNOLD (1929–2012)

Leipzig, 1956

gelatin silver print, early print

35,2 x 25,2 cm

© Ursula Arnold Archiv der Ostdeutschen Sparkassenstiftung im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ROGER MELIS (1940-2009)

National Gallery, Berlin, 1980

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1980

36,3 x 23,7 cm

© Nachlass Roger Melis / Mathias Bertram / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

GUNDULA SCHULZE ELDOWY (*1954)

The Führer, Berlin (from the series 'Straßenbild'), 1987

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1987

18,9 x 28,1 cm

© Gundula Schulze Eldowy / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (*1941)

Gummlin, Usedom (from the series 'Das Denkmal, 1975-1986'), 1984

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1988

30 x 45 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

GUNDULA SCHULZE ELDOWY (*1954)

Berlin, 1989

gelatin silver print, printed c. 1989

27,3 x 40,1 cm

© Gundula Schulze Eldowy / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

Kicken Berlin will devote its first exhibition of 2010 to a selection of East German photographers. Represented in East Side Stories: German Photographs 1950s-1980s are Ursula Arnold, Sibylle Bergemann, Arno Fischer, Ute und Werner Mahler, Roger Melis, Helga Paris, Evelyn Richter as well as Gundula Schulze Eldowy – committed art photographers who achieved their own modes of expression outside the official aesthetic. F.C. Gundlach’s fashion photography from 1950s and 1960s West Berlin will be on view in the exhibition space Kicken II.
Up until the early 1970s, the cultural officers of the German Democratic Republic viewed photography not as an art medium but rather as a means of providing affirmative and idealized images of life. Personal viewpoints were not welcome. Photography that forcefully “grew out of the self-assigned task of documenting what (one) felt was worth capturing,” as Evelyn Richter put it, had to remain secret.
Arno Fischer (1927) and Evelyn Richter (1930) belong to those who pointed the way toward a subjective-narrative, human- centered photography in the 1950s. Key figures in the East German art photography scene, opinion shapers, and teachers at Leipzig’s Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst/ Academy of Visual Arts, they influenced a form of art photography oriented toward the social-documentary “human interest” tradition. Their stance combined social participation with a commitment to critical observation from a personal point of view – as in Fischer’s series Situation Berlin (1953-60), with its symbolically dense snapshots of the divided city.
Important influences on the development of independent photography in East Germany included the work of the Magnum agency (from 1947 on), Edward Steichen’s exhibition The Family of Man (1955) as well as Robert Frank’s radically subjective street photography.
Pictures of people and portraits are at the exhibition’s core. Ursula Arnold (1929) observed her sometimes melancholy, sometimes odd contemporaries on the streets of Berlin and Leipzig, and on Berlin’s S-Bahn. She gave up working as a photojournalist early in order to avoid having to make concessions to the dictates for enthusiasm imposed from above. Helga Paris (1938) took portraits of rebellious Berliner Jugendliche/ Berlin Youths (1981-82), approaching her subjects with seriousness and thoughtfulness, and concentrating fully on them as individuals. She, too, had the self-professed goal of depicting people authentically in their everyday contexts.
Sibylle Bergemann (1941) made a name for herself as a sensitive portraitist, fashion photographer, and observer of the urban landscape. Das Denkmal/The Monument (1977-86), her long-term study of the assembly of the Marx-Engels sculpture, appears, with its hovering, headless sculptural fragments to emblematically anticipate the collapse of communism.
In the Berlin of the late 1970s and early 1980s Gundula Schulze Eldowy (
1954) found the setting for scenes that are as drastic as they are quotidian in the series Berlin. In einer Hundenacht/ Berlin: in a Dog’s Night (1977-89) and Aktportraits/ Nude Portraits (1983-86). As no other East German photographer before her, she shows with unsparing frankness the loneliness and vulnerability of her subjects but also their dignity and self confidence. Her early photographs reveal an aesthetic and thematic debt to the work of Diane Arbus.
Independent of each other, Ute and Werner Mahler turned their unpretentious gazes on the East German way of life. Ute Mahler (1949) thematized family arrangements and group dynamics in her series Zusammen Leben/Living Together (1972-1986). Werner Mahler (1950) documented a year in the Thuringian village Berka (1977) - and repeated his studies in the late 1990s after reunification. An additional focus of both photographers was fashion photography (published for the most part in the magazine for fashion and culture Sibylle) that offered opportunities for “productively expanding the genre” (Bernd Lindner).