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STRAWALDE (English Version)

Gemälde von STRAWALDE

(Jürgen Böttcher)

Jürgen Böttcher, alias Strawalde, was one of the leading opponents of the regime among artists in the GDR. In Dresden he gathered round him a circle of artists, who were harassed by the GDR authorities and prevented from exhibiting their work.

Initially influenced by Picasso and the old masters, Strawalde soon went on to develop an individual and introspective style with a dreamlike quality. He explores the possibilities for expression of painting which draws solely on colour and its application to create a relief-like texture, then switches to the free linearity of gestural drawings - two seemingly paradoxical approaches which are often layered in one painting.

Strawalde takes these paradoxes to the extreme when he depicts objects or figures using freie Zeichen ('abstract signs'), as in his series of pictures of women, allusively entitled 'Anna Chron'. These show archetypal images of womanhood reminiscent of icons, renaissance pictures or expressionistic motifs of women. A whole room is dedicated to these pictures in the exhibition in the art room of the Marie-Elisabeth Lüders Building.


Jürgen Böttcher is one of those rare figures in the artistic arena who is dually talented. He is also a pioneering film director and documentary maker. As a film-maker too, he came into conflict with the censors in the GDR. Many of his films were banned, some of them destroyed before they could be shown.

The painter's enthusiasm for a fury of colour and drawing is in stark contrast to his talent for sober and precise observation as a prominent maker of documentaries. His films are characterised by an almost ascetic restraint in documenting the realities of life: generally in black and white, these works portray the harsh reality of life and work for 'simple' people in a brutally honest fashion using long sensitive takes (Ofenbauer – 'Oven Builders', 1962; Wäscherinnen – 'The Laundry Women', 1972; Martha – 'Martha', 1962) or reflect political history in meditative collages of images and sound (Die Mauer – 'The Wall', 1990).

 Yet Jürgen Böttcher would not be Strawalde if his film oeuvre did not include some playful experimental films blending painting and film: Venus nach Giorgione ('Venus after Giorgione') or Frau am Klavichord ('Woman at the Clavichord') document the painting over of art postcards, illustrating the richness of free interaction between colour and forms. In the art room of the German Bundestag, these films will be showing, alongside the original painted-over postcards.

The exhibition 'Strawalde – Painting, Films and Videos' can be viewed from 15 March to 14 May 2006.

German Bundestag
Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders Building
10117 Berlin

Opening hours:
Tues to Sun 11.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs

A catalogue is being published to accompany the exhibition.