Berlin,Thomas Hoepker Pictures of East Germany
Trabant, Berlin (Ost), 1974 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Kind an der Berliner Mauer Berlin (West), 1963 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Straße mit einer alten Bäckerei Halle, 1991 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
"Bruderkuss" an der Berliner Mauer, East Side Gallery Berlin (Ost), 1990 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Junge mit Spielzeuggewehr Görlitz, 1976 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Russische Veteranen bei den Feierlichkeiten zum 25. Jahrestag der DDR Berlin (Ost), 7. Oktober 1974 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Neubaugebiet in Halle Neustadt, 1975 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Altstoffsammlung im Prenzlauer Berg Berlin (Ost), 1975 © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Born in Munich in 1936, Thomas Hoepker was a frequent visitor to East Germany: The current exposition “DDR Ansichten”at the Hiltawsky Gallery in Berlin presents the resulting pictures providing vast coverage of daily life in East Germany from 1959 to 1991. On one hand, pictures of political life in the SED (Unified Socialist Party of Germany): identifiable yet miniscule figures in a seeming mass, flags, hammers and compasses, a night time political celebration with three young militants walking in an alley… a leitmotiv of pictures of Honecker or other SED barons.
But Honecker also practices the art of solitary photography, on a wall beside a series of low-income apartment buildings, buried in the solitude under the snow. This desolate image could serve as a link to the remaining selection in the Gallery show: those featuring children, workers, the elderly, (nearly) always in front of dilapidated buildings, or on rooftops. A plaster Lenin in the distant background behind a window, a woman bathing in the sun between two sooty chimneys, a couple following the Oma (grandmother) in their motorcycle sidecar. Some of the pictures feature the same Germans after the fall of the Berlin wall, others present black and white visions of the post communist experience.
Thomas Hoepker traveled the world as a photojournalist, contributing regularly to several newspapers since 1959. The first German member of the Magnum agency, he was both President and Vice President during his years there after his entry in 1964. His works are in the collections of the Ludwig Museum (Cologne), the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hambourg) et C/O Berlin among others. He lives and works in New York.
In addition to the current exhibition, the Deutschen Historischen Museum (German History Museum) is presenting « Über Leben », a collection of nearly 280 pictures by Thomas Hoepker and Daniel Biskup.
Hatje Cantz is publishing the book « DDR Ansichten », with a text by Wolf Biermann. Price €35, ISBN: 978-3-7757-2813-3.
Thomas Hoepker, DDR Ansichten
Until July 9, 2011