GDR-era art is experiencing renewed interest in the wake of the celebrations for the 30thanniversary of reunification. Major galleries all over the country are staging ‘Überblick’ exhibitions of the period, from theKunstpalast in Düsseldorfto theMdbK in Leipzig. In these exhibitions, both ‘official’ art approved of by the regime and nonconformist art can be viewed side by side, revealing the complexities of GDR cultural policy.
Painter Cornelia Schleime is a case in point;whilst she insists to this daythat her GDR-era artworks were ‘purpose-free’ with no political message, they didbetray her feelingsof not belonging in East Berlin society. Considered heretical by the state, Schleime was banned from exhibiting her work in the GDR. After five attempts, she received an exit visa and headed into West Berlin, where she started her career afresh, having been forced to leave all her artworks behind.
Schleime’s Stasi files reveal her distress after each visa rejection, which had been reported to the SED by informants such as her close friend and fellow artist, Sascha Anderson. In 1993, she transposed photographs of herself and friends into these Stasi files, resulting in the fascinating biographical series ‘Bis auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit’ (Until Further Good Collaboration), check it out here.