Exhibition Catalogues from the Soviet Occupation Zone/Early GDR (SBZ/DDR)

The aim of the full text collection »Exhibition Catalogues from the Soviet Occupation Zone/Early GDR (SBZ/DDR)« is to make the art and exhibition activities from 1945 onwards in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) and from 1949 onwards in the newly founded GDR digitally available by means of the traditional media - primarily exhibition catalogues and leaflets. Very soon after the end of the war, artists all over Germany began to show their art, some of which had been created in secret for a long time, to the public again. The first exhibitions were organized as early as 1945. Initially, the focus was often on the rehabilitation of formerly persecuted and mistaken artists. With the increasing influence of (Soviet) cultural policy, however, the first manifestations and restrictions of the cultural-political idea of Socialist Realism quickly became noticeable, leading to the so-called formalism debate at the end of the 1950s. This is also evident in the brochures and exhibition catalogues.

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Berlin and Dresden, important art centres even before the Second World War, continue this tradition with a large number of exhibitions even after the end of the war. However, it is remarkable - also from the point of view of cultural policy - that numerous exhibition projects were also held in smaller towns. Art was not only a medium in the big cities, but also in the countryside, in which one saw - also in terms of cultural policy - a great opportunity and impact for the newly emerging socialist society. However, the fact that the new artistic freedom was only a fleeting phenomenon became apparent relatively quickly in the 1950s.

Catalogues of exhibitions that have taken place since 1945 on the territory of the Soviet occupation zone or the GDR have been digitized primarily. In addition to the classic individual and group exhibitions in museums, there are also catalogues of some private galleries and exhibitions organized by cultural policy. The exhibition catalogues are supplemented by selected cultural-political writings of the time, museum guides and a few West German catalogues dedicated to artists from the Eastern zone. These are intended to convey the wider context of cultural policy, museums and exhibitions of the time.

The full-text collection will be successively expanded to include additional relevant titles.

Exhibition Catalogues from the Soviet Occupation Zone/Early GDR (SBZ/DDR)


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