The Other Leipzig School – Photography in the GDR


In contrast to the official images propagated by the East German regime, the photographic works by instructors and students of the College of Graphic Design and Book Art (HGB) in Leipzig provide a glimpse of what social conditions were truly like in the GDR. As the only school of photography in East Germany, the HGB continued the social documentary tradition of the 19th and 20th century and particularly emphasized photography of the work world and everyday life.
With their veristic and often melancholy images, photographers like Arno Fischer, Evelyn Richter, Wolfgang G. Schröter and Helfried Strauß founded their own "Leipzig School" - a reference to the famous Leipzig School of Painting - which applied highly subjective imagery to portray a different side of real-life socialism than suggested by the official propaganda. The photographic works demonstrate ex negativo how little the SED's image of socialistic realism corresponded with real life.
The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Erfurt represented an important photo-artistic contribution to the social and psychological history of the GDR and, as the 2009 commemorative year concluded, filled in one of the last gaps in our knowledge of the critical art-historical positions in the "other Germany".

Curator: Kai Uwe Schierz
Artists: Arno Fischer, Evelyn Richter, Wolfgang G. Schröter, Helfried Strauß, Tina Bara, Klaus Elle, Matthias Hoch, Ute Mahler, Werner Mahler, Jens Rötzsch, Erasmus Schröter, Gundula Schulze el Dowy, Thomas Steinert and others

Venue and schedule:
Kunsthalle Erfurt, 6 December 2009 - 31 January 2010