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February 28, 1990 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-28

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ARTS

"4w'
___ PagcL7'

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, February 28, 1990

East Germans express visions

by Rona Sheramy
TWELVE Artists from the German
Democratic Republic, a traveling
exhibit organized by the Busch-
Reisinger Museum at Harvard Uni-
yersity, presents varying examples
of contemporary East German art.
he exhibit reveals the influences of
Berman Expressionist traditions, as
well as the development of individu-
alistic styles. The German Expres-
sionism which was predominant at
the beginning of the century is very
different from the German Expres-
sionism that is redefined and reinter-
preted in these examples of contem-
porary art. Twelve Artists offers a
microcosmic look at the past two
decades in the East German art scene.
The exhibit dramatizes the revision
bf older traditions, as well as the
emergence of unprecedented styles.
- In an introduction to the exhibit's
catalogue, Peter Selz quotes one of
Expressionism's earliest, pre-World
War I advocates, Herwarth Walden.
Walden explains, "The (Expression-
ist) painter paints what he sees in
his innermost feeling and his own
being.... Each external impression
becomes an internal expression."
The canvas is a fusion of visual ob-
servations and personal perceptions.
The artist depicts external appear-
ances with a twist - a political and
social message, an intellectual eval-
uation, an emotional response. Sub-
ject matter does not dissolve into
unidentifiable shapes and colors on
the canvas, as occurs later in abstract
art. Instead, figures and objects are
heightened, exaggerated and adjusted
by the artist's interior eye.
Elisabeth Thoburn, an art history
graduate student and native of East
Germany, describes the relationship
of Twelve Artists to earlier Expres-
sionist trends. The viewer "must be
careful what (he/she) calls German
Expressionism," says Thoburn.
Although many canvases explode
with bold colors, slashing lines and
personalized images, they are not all
the products of a single artistic in-
fluence.
Thoburp distinguishes the differ-
ent generations of contemporary
artists represented in the exhibit. The
more objective depictions of land-
scapes, buildings and still lifes by
Theodor Rosenhauer of Dresden sig-
nify art of the first generation.
Rosenhauer applies muted, somber
colors through very thick, Van
Gogh-like brushwork. Each paint-

stroke contributes to a precious, se-
date whole. Rosenhauer's works,
such as View of Cemetery Court in
Winter, East Radebeul (1965), and
Loaf of Bread with Blue Pitcher
(1980), do not show a drastic trans-
formation or internalization of sub-
ject matter. Rather, his paintings re-
veal an appreciation for the simple,
common appearance of objects as
they stand in nature and the home.
Second generation artists, such as
Bernhard Heisig of Leipzig, and Max
Uhlig of Dresden, create powerful
and overwhelming canvases.
Heisig's works are an eerie mixture
of painterly line and melting color.
In Frederick (1988), Volunteer
Soldier (1984/1988) and Pirate
Camp Follower (1988), pale faces

different-colored candles, Uhlig's
paintings fuse applications of black,
brown, orange and red paint. Facial
details and highlights are achieved in
his portraits through the use of
white and yellow paint, also applied
in the slashing style. His figures
seem trapped in the meshing lines of
color, as though they are imprisoned
in their bodies and the canvases.
In his watercolor landscapes as
well, Uhlig builds his images with
dark, diagonal crossing lines and
lighter slashes of color. These land-
scapes, such as Katharinenberg
(1985) and Large Tree Root on the
River Bank (1987), are very personal
perceptions of nature's exteriors. The
viewer does not recognize scenes
from the outdoors, but senses the in-

the third generation in contemporary
East German art. Libuda's paintings
are large-scale, dark masses of
swirling paint and bizarre figures. In
The Listeners (1988),. figures out-
lined in thick black paint are barely
perceptible within a darkened, rough
canvas and behind piled, geometric
shapes. In Ceiling Runner II (1985),
a naked figure hangs fly-like from a
ceiling, with an eye painted ran-
domly in the middle of its stomach.
Sighard Gille's portraits are more re-
alistic, yet equally thought-provok-
ing images of city life and personal
relationships. Obnoxious characters
fill the canvas of Party in Leipzig
(1979), in which the central, dejected
figure looks pathetically out at the
viewer. In Fasching, (1988), a man

Prince
"Scandalous Sex Suite" 12"
Paisley Park
He's at it again; that mischievous
musician from Minneapolis just
cannot resist the opportunity to cre-
ate a little more, well, controversy.
From the furor caused by the Love-
sexy album cover to the rumors
floating about involving he and fel-
low scandal victim Kim Basinger,
the single all-encompassing identity
that Prince has built about himself
in the last 10+ years burns brightest
when fueled by at least a little fresh
horror and shock. The maxi-single
features "Scandalous" in three parts:
the Crime, the Passion, and the Rap-
ture. The Crime is a spoken mono-
logue between him and Basinger that
revamps the ballad exquisitely, with
the superlative saxer Eric Leeds cov-
ering Prince's opening verse note for
note. The Rapture features a scathing
electric guitar solo over still more of
the sultry stuff, opposing it with a
savage intensity, as well as adding to

it in a particularly clever sort o1
counterpoint.
Time and time again, Prince has
assaulted us with his personal strug-
gle - spirituality against sexuality.
He has attempted to reconcile the
two by implying that if we all con-
stantly screw each other, we'll 'be
living in some degree of peace or,
another. Repeatedly, he has set hitn-
self up with temptation, plummeted
into sin, and finally reached a point
of reckoning and/or realization. Ai
his best, he hopes to free our minds
of the Christian guilt that goes with
pleasure: sex is God's gift to us'
why downplay it? This matador-like .
guise leaves Prince himself shrouddd'
in mystery while we selfishly lunge'
for our own desires. At his worst,bed
leads us to a certain timeless ques-
tion, but never bothers to answer it.
This is about as irresponsible as tak-
ing random, unabashed lust and
cloaking and disguising it in the
form of love.
Prince is getting old.
-Forrest Green III
See RECORDS, page.8

Cloud presents life
witout silver lining:-
by Kenneth Chow
CLOUD 9, written by Caryl Churchill, is a satirical comedy that
addresses a few of the issues that have plagued society for many years.
These include racial conflict, sexual confusion and insecurity.
The play is divided into two acts. The first takes place in a Victorian
colony in Africa. The cast of characters includes an authoritative father, a,
mother (played by a male to imply that she is a man's ideal wife), a son
(played by a female to imply his sexual confusion), a daughter (played by a
stuffed doll to imply her insignificant place in the family), a Black slave
(played by a white male to imply his wish to conform with white ideals),.;
a lesbian maid and a mother-in-law. The plot itself centers on a meeting -
between the family and two friends of theirs: Mr. Bagley, the explorer and -
Mrs. Saunders, the feminist. The course of the story is not remarkable. i7&
is basically a series of family picnics with many love affairs interwined. n
one of the scenes, the cast goes to play hide-and-seek. And of course, the.
better part of the unfolding and exposition takes place after one person has
been found by another.
The first act conveys the idea that back in the-Victorian Age, the
"shameful" characteristics of a person, such as bisexuality, racial
antipathy, etc., were well hidden so that the characters might appear to b.
perfect in history books. In the second act, which takes place
approximately 20 years later, these issues are treated in a more casual
manner. Nevertheless, they are still looked upon as shameful, and most.of
them are still kept hidden. The moral of the two acts is that although w
looked down on the Victorians' ignorance of these issues, we fare no better
in dealing with them ourselves."
The second act doesn't have a specific plot. It is simply a sequel to
reveal what is to become of some of the characters from the first act. There,
are several flashbacks strategically installed in this act that, in addition to
smoothing out the time See CLOUD, page 8.

Pictured above is Rats' Game (Rat Sheet 1), 1987, by Heinrich Tessmer. It is on display in the University Museum
of Art, as part of the exhibit Twelve Artists from the German Democratic Republic.

emerge with bulging eyes, distorted
mouths and harrowed expressions.
The figures appear ghostlike against-
ominous, at times chaotic back-
grounds.
Max Uhlig's towering portraits
are an amalgamation of criss-cross-
ing lines and splashes of color. The
viewer must stand back a few feet
from Uhlig's paintings to fully ap-
preciate the details within the line
masses. Like wax drippings from

ternalized observations driving the
artist's creativity. As Uhlig described
in 1979, "In watercolors.. and in
paintings during the last five years, I
gave free rein to my emotions,
reaching an ecstatic intensity." He
perceives "more elementary and
rhythmic connections of farm" and
creates unnaturalistic equivalents of
this internal structure.
Walter Libuda of Berlin and
Sighard Gille of Leipzig exemplify

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MUSICAL MDSE,
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space heater: $15..Deluxe_ athletic bag: $10.

and women stand together in fash-
ionable attire, one donning a gas
mask and the other a pig nose. Such
art presents an overt social and polit-
ical message, similar to the first Ex-
pressionist works of over half a cen-
tury ago.
Appropriately arranged in a sepa-
rate gallery, Carlfriedrich Claus rep-
resents one of the most individualis-
tic styles in the Twelve Artists ex-
See ART, page 8
SUBLET
* INCREDIBLE ROOM IN LARGE
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