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Between Dissidence and Obedience. A New Perspective on Alternative Art in the GDR. 1970-1989

By J. Snels


This thesis examines alternative art galleries in the last two decades of the GDR. The term 'alternative' is used to refer to artists whose political beliefs or artistic style or content did not fit the rules and guidelines of the SED and who were therefore hindered by officials in practicing their professions, as well as to art made by alternative artists and art galleries exhibiting alternative art. Many historians who studied the East-German art practice reduced the mentalities of artists and gallery holders to an antithesis of dissidence and obedience, which does not do justice to the complexity and diversity of their behavior. In order to create a realistic representation of the East-German art practice it is necessary to examine the motivations which instigated these complex mentalities. Therefore this thesis will attempt to create a more differentiated view on GDR art, by showing that alternative art galleries in the GDR in the 1970s and 1980s appropriated authority in order to serve the interests of alternative artists. To do this, the concept of 'Eigen-Sinn', a theory which was developed by historians Alf Lüdtke and Thomas Lindenberger, is employed

Topics: GDR ; Cold War ; East-Germany ; Art ; Art galleries ; DDR ; Koude Oorlog ; Oost-Duitsland ; Kunst ; galerieën
Year: 2014
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