Modern Art at the Berlin Wall: Demarcating Culture in the by Claudia Mesch

By Claudia Mesch

On the peak of the chilly battle, paintings produced in divided Germany contested the cultural demarcation of East and West. right here Claudia Mesch indicates how a large crew of artists, resembling Joseph Beuys, Allan Kaprow, Gerhard Richter, Carolee Schneemann, Ed Kienholz, Yvonne Rainer, Jorg Immendorff and Nam June Paik, struggled to take visible paintings "beyond the crude separations of the 'Iron Curtain' ", and to go beyond the 1st international cultural divide of the 20th century. Artists in Berlin produced works of art - together with portray, functionality and movie - that engaged seriously with imposed nationwide and worldwide identities, and with problems with reminiscence and trauma. Mesch uncovers for the 1st time the lifestyles of a serious socialist modernism within the former Soviet Bloc, practiced in East Germany via artists similar to Manfred Butzmann, Wolfgang Mattheuer, A.R. Penck, and the artists' team Clara Mosch.

'Modern paintings on the Berlin Wall' offers a brand new bankruptcy within the background of recent paintings in contemplating the cultural struggles of artists as they coped with the profound trauma of worldwide conflict II and the worldwide ideological divide of the chilly struggle period, and is key for all these attracted to artwork heritage, modernism, the chilly conflict and the cultural historical past of the 20th century.

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Extra info for Modern Art at the Berlin Wall: Demarcating Culture in the Cold War Germanys (International Library of Cultural Studies)

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The few sources Sedlmayr uses to bolster his views are suspiciously almost all published during the Third Reich. 35 By this Berdyaev seems to have meant the fragmented and sometimes contorted representation of the human body that can be observed within Picasso’s art. 36 Thus even if the images Picasso and other modern artists create are powerful, they are self-negating and ‘anti-humanist’ in that they are not ‘manifestations of the timeless, of the eternal’. At no point does Sedlmayr, in 1948, make any reference to Guernica, to Germany’s disastrous decline under fascism, to the end of World War Two and the destruction of much of Western Europe, or to the Holocaust.

Within this newly unstable atmosphere, East German painters took up an explicitly anti-fascist message. The central commi�ee in these cases now appeared to tolerate modernist experimentation as long as the artist explicitly addressed the subject ma�er of anti-fascism. Anti-fascism in the recent German past was perhaps the key foundational narrative for the East German nation. It established historical roots of the GDR and the SED in the anti-fascism of the KPD during R����������� ��� M����� 35 the Weimar Republic.

Conservative German critics could agree on spiritual loss ‘inflicted’ by modernism because they appeared to be completely unwilling or actually unable to acknowledge the enormity of loss that surrounded them in physical reality as a result of fascism. These arguments reveal a general lack of knowledge concerning modernism, another R����������� ��� M����� 37 legacy of fascism. Many directions of early abstraction, from Kandinsky to Malevich to Mondrian, were indeed based in the quest for a new kind of spirituality to be imparted in nonobjective painting.

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