“The Rebellious Woman – Photography. Underground. GDR”: The Other East – The Beginning of a Film

DrArtist Cornelia Schlemm wears a hemp wig and pulls a baby carriage of pigtails up and down in front of the home of Officer Stasi who takes care of her files and IM, poet Sasha Anderson. Her work was captured in Super 8. Art criticism in the West is excited. However, Schlemm says thirty years later, her performance was not at all understood outside the German Democratic Republic, which by then had already disappeared. Her art has never been an abstract concept, but it is always autobiographical and concrete: “They thought, it was from somewhere.”

Film Rebelinnen – Fotografie. Underground. DDR.” It was mostly about the hair. Gabrielle Stutzer still straps her models to her and says, “That’s a bit tortured? this is good. What pulls hair is the past. In Tina Barra’s photos, it’s the hairy nude bodies. “I’m my brush,” says Cornelia Slime. Three biographies, two of which are Slims and Stutzer, begin in the historical year 1953, in East Berlin and Thuringia. Barra, born south of Berlin in 1962, has been living in the United States longer than he does in the German Democratic Republic.

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Cornelia Slime showcases the early works of her student days in Dresden, when she sang in an art school punk band, as was appropriate at the time. The bassist placed a mummy in aluminum foil on the Elbe meadows like an alien and painted the perspective of the twisting pyramids on the images. She says she was never interested in perspective. The Stasi considered their symbolism a secret language and the Society of Plastic Artists considered their performative work “garbage art”, a professional ban. She wrapped herself naked with wires, ropes and hoses, hid her face in plastic bags, and today she explains the pictures and films made from them as “parables from life in the GDR.” She applied for permanent leave, which was granted in 1984. She took her son and moved west, leaving much of her work behind.

Cornelia slime and her relationship with the house

Cornelia slime and her relationship with the house

Credit: MEDEA FILM FACTORY / Cornelia Slime

Gabriel Stutzer signed a petition in Erfurt in 1976 against the expulsion of Wolf Bermann and was judged to be the leader of the group because she was first on the list. She spent a year in solitary confinement at the Hohenk Women’s Prison. After that I became an artist. She painted, made a series of portraits, made films, and still wrapped women in gauze bandages to portray them as kneeling mummies. “Art against decadence,” she says in Rebelinnen. The camera looks for a long time at the image of the German Democratic Republic in the late 1980s with the message: “And to stay is also a decision. He refused to go.” Gabriel Stutzer has never gone to the West.

Gabrielle Stutzer visits her cell at Hohenk Women's Prison

Gabrielle Stutzer visits her cell at Hohenk Women’s Prison


In the movie, Tina Barra stands in a once-gray green backyard and says, “It wasn’t really cool.” Prenzlauer Berg was the backdrop for her early portraits. She also depicted Women for Peace in the country nude as all the young men who made themselves available to her, and the series of photos from Schkopau Buna’s work made her famous in the alternative art world of East Germany. Ruin as a Chemical Factory, Carbide Landscape, Erich Honecker as a Sacred Image in the Abandoned Canteen. “I couldn’t make a state with that,” Barra says beautifully. Shortly before the wall fell, I headed west.

In her director’s statement, as Oriental cinema calls the filmmaker’s manifesto, director Pamela Mayer-Arndt explains: “Did we (from the West) expect as much freedom within the GDR as these three artists have? It is surprising that these images are being discovered Only now, through this film and elsewhere, are they highlighted from dusty drawers. Finally.” Mayer-Arndt, born in Cologne in 1967, lived in Hamburg and New York, and moved to Berlin Prenzlauer Berg in 2003, according to her director’s statement in the script The companion on the website of her film distributor based in the Bohemian East. As a director. Sibylle Bergemann, Gundula Schulze-Eldowy and Helga Paris also presented “Female Oriental Photographers” to the West. “Photographer Roger Millis – East German Historian” was shown in cinemas three years ago.

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This is not to say that West Germans cannot or should not portray East Germany. Sometimes you will Western Plains not even notice. Others’ lives, too, stand up to a sharp view from the outside and it can make some things more obvious.

The fact that “Rebelinnen” as a documentary and film portrait, despite its sensitivity and beauty, also seems a bit strange if you’ve been through time in the same way and have been watching films like this for three decades, about as explained by the director’s statement the so-called East Bohème. Out of pride in a discovery that writer and screenwriter Klaus Schlesinger described in the early 1990s as an exaggerated reaction to ignorance: an honest West German at least admits that the desert mattered more to him than the GDR, at least before the unity and charm of earthly values. What Schlesinger missed: Since 1990, the West has also been interested in ideals, in stories. More engaging novels to create your own novels.

Fear of claustrophobia: Cornelia slime in plastic and rubber

Fear of claustrophobia: Cornelia slime in plastic and rubber

Source: MEDEA FILM FACTORY / Bernd Hiepe

You can clearly see the film’s amazement at the sense of freedom described by Pamela Mayer-Arndt. It would be surprising if the people of the GDR lived as the GDR wanted and as the West still likes to imagine: dissatisfied but in agreement with the sponsoring state, the GDR residents set themselves up between the sitting area and wall unit with Nordhäuser double grain and spiced meat, With Puhdys and a “belt kettle”. Without any sense of freedom. It is possible that such people exist in the comfortable dictatorship of the German Democratic Republic. As in all dictatorships, the majority wanted to live more freely than they did, whatever that might mean for them in the end.

Some made art for it and stayed like Gabrielle Stutzer. Others made art and left for it. Like Tina Barra, who suffered from the “immigrant complex” in the West, as she put it, and like Cornelia Slime, who was celebrated in the West for what she calls “bad weirdness” until the GDR presented her under the guise of Stasi files haunted again.

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