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Konst eller Kitsch?: Konst producerad i DDR speglad genom utställningar efter 1990
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis [Artistic work]Alternative title
Art or Kitsch? : Art produced in the GDR reflected through exhibitions after 1990 (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores how art produced in the former GDR has been looked upon, handled and exhibited after the reunification of Germany in 1990. Swedish Art History has paid little attention to art in the GDR. The debate starting in the 50s between the spokesmen for abstract art and the defenders of figuration restrained for a long period the ability to look upon art from the GDR without prejudices. This led to a rejection of all figurative art in the GDR and sweeping judgmental attitudes, like it´s all “kitsch”. Comparatively few artists in the GDR however, painted in the style prescribed by political leaders. An open issue in this study was, against background: Has GDR art gained in interest and respectability?

   This study focuses on two exhibitions The Divided Heaven in Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin and an exhibition in Kalmar konstmuseum, Sweden, named Maintaining the Order of Things – the Aesthetic of Modernism in Commercialism, Nationalism, Elitism and Socialism, 2011. The exhibitions have been analyzed along several dimensions: The number of works from the GDR, strategies for hanging them, the presentation of the exhibitions in information brochures and the homepage of the museums. Descriptions of the works give information on typical motives in the GDR over time and some information as regards the artists. The way the building has supported visitors in experiencing an exhibition has been considered and its importance as an institution.

    The study of the two exhibitions illustrates two different strategies for showing art from the GDR, in contrast or integrated. The Swedish exhibition which primarily exposed paintings from the 60 s focused on comparing GDR paintings and the Swedish sketches on commissioned  etchings on vases from Orrefors glassworks.  The German exhibition exposed GDR art together with art from other countries, along thematic lines.

    The study indicates an increasing interest in the art from the GDR, which is confirmed by the great number of exhibitions 2012.  Also projects researching the art from this period in German history and the construction of a new museum for it supports the idea that interest in and respect for art produced in the former GDR is gradually established. This increased interest has not yet included the officially promoted style – Socialist Realism.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 69 p.
Keyword [en]
: Art from GDR, estimation, the communication of exhibitions, museology, formalism, figuration, debate, commission art
Keyword [sv]
konst från DDR, värdering, utställningskommunikation, museologi, formalismdebatt, beställningskonst
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-97643ISRN: LIU-IKK/KV-A-13/008-SEOAI: diva2:649876
Subject / course
Art History and Virtual Communication
, Key-huset, Universitetet, Linköping

Vid den elektroniska publiceringen har två bilder tagits bort från den ursprungliga versionen av upphovsrättsliga skäl, bild 21 och 26.

Available from: 2013-09-19 Created: 2013-09-19 Last updated: 2013-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Svedbäck, Kerstin
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