Theme: Commensurability – Incommensurability
East Looking East. Geometrical abstraction and architectural practice subverts ideologies.
Geometrical abstraction, concrete and constructivist art in postwar Eastern Germany were targets of anti-formalist verdicts by the authoritarian cultural politics. Compared with the other communist countries in Europe, the GDR was more severely cut off from contemporary culture, yet we find a proximity to construction/architecture serving as niche for developing autonomous and innovative works of serialism, modularism, industrialist materiality or social interaction, in immediate reference to the theories of Bauhaus and on early Soviet visions. A new assessment of the modernism(s) made in GDR should therefore connect to similar phenomena in the former Eastern Bloc: Polish artist/architect Oskar Hansen, the Romanian SIGMA, the Pecs Group in Hungary and others.
Susanne Altmann studied art history and philosophy in New York and Dresden, where she is based. In 2004 she started her research on Eastern European art, focusing on unofficial avantgarde movements and subcultures before 1989. She published and curated widely on these subjects: “VIRUS FORM” (exhibition, Berlin and Dresden, 2016), “Mission possible“ (essay, State Art Collection of Brandenburg 2017), “And – I have not taken him. The Erfurt women artists’ group” (study, Liverpool Press 2017).