Held to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this special exhibition at the German Consulate in Manhattan looks back at my two decades as a young citizen of the communist state with a selection of works that reflect my varied background, ranging from realistic portraiture to purely abstract compositions. Among the highlights of the show is Role Models, a series based on formal portrayals of prominent East German officials who were active when I was growing up. Similar pictures used to be hung in public buildings and were carried around as banners during state-sponsored demonstrations for "Peace and Socialism." A group painting of three girls evokes the coercive nature of the former East German regime, which trained young people in special camps with the aim of making them model citizens of the promised communist paradise.
|Role Models: Erich Honecker
Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in., 2011
The exhibition includes twelve Meissen Propaganda Dishes, watercolors combining traditional decoration with ideological slogans in a parody of the incongruous atmosphere at the Meissen Porcelain Company while I worked there, producing luxury objects for the capitalist market yet surrounded by communist propaganda. Each is painted on the reverse with the famous blue "Crossed Swords" mark of the Meissen Factory.
The collectivist pressures of the time are expressed in a series of group portraits based on my own contemporary photographs. These depict different stages of my life and give an insight into both the private and the public aspects of everyday existence in East Germany, which always included a political dimension.
Also featured is Stripes, an example of my more recent abstract painting in oil on canvas.
The exhibition will be on view at the German Consulate General,
871 United Nations Plaza (West side of 1st Avenue between 48th/49th Streets)
November 7 - 28, Monday-Friday 9 am - 5 pm.
I invite you to join me at the opening reception on Thursday, November 6, from 6 to 8 pm.
|Meissen Propaganda Dish: "Identification with our State Enables us to Find New Ways of Expression"
Watercolor on paper, diameter 10 in., 2001