Grafik Ost / Graphic Arts East

06. September 2017 – 07. January 2018
Sprengel Museum HannoverSprengel Museum Hannover
From 6 September 2017 to 7 January 2018, the Sprengel Museum Hannover is devoting itself to the art of printmaking in the German Democratic Republic in “Grafik Ost”. Featuring circa 100 prints and artists’ books from its own collection, the present exhibition represents the continuation of the 2014 drawing show “Zeichnung Ost”.

In 1988, the State of Lower Saxony acquired a collection of 413 examples of art from the GDR for the Sprengel Museum Hannover that has never been shown before. A majority of them involve prints along with a sampling of drawings and photographs. A selection of circa 100 prints from this collection is now being presented in “Grafik Ost”. It was assembled in the 1980s in Berlin by the diplomat and future mayor of Leipzig, Dr. Georg Girardet. From 1978 to 1985, he worked in East Berlin as a counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the GDR, responsible for cultural matters from 1980 to 1985. During this time, he organised numerous cultural events in the Permanent Representation, including a Joseph Beuys exhibition that was attended by the artist. His function brought him in close contact with East German visual artists. Through the intercession of the art dealer Dieter Brusberg and the recent acquisitions made by FAMAKulturstiftung, the Sprengel Museum Hannover possesses a significant collection of art from the GDR, making it one of the few West German institutions to feature such holdings.
Printmaking played an extraordinary role as an artistic media in the GDR, serving as an “artistic refuge” and as a “medium of freedom” during the 1970s and 1980s in particular. The cultural politics of the Socialist Unity Party were little concerned with this art form. While well-equipped workshops and art academies did place value on the teaching of printmaking techniques, prints also played a decisive role in the establishment of East Germany’s artistic underground counterculture.

The exhibition is being presented in conjunction with the nationwide “Land der Grafik” project devoted to print collections featuring art from the German Democratic Republic.

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