Background 2
OstzeitStories from a vanished Country

Sibylle Bergemann, Harald Hauswald, Ute Mahler, Werner Mahler – four of the most well-known East German photographers – and Maurice Weiss, are all members of the photo agency OSTKREUZ and all took a simultaneously sympathetic but also warts-and-all approach to documenting the reality of daily life for people in the GDR, moving beyond the facade of the socialist ideal. These are images which observe instead of proclaim. Images which pose challenging questions without losing touch with the humanity of their protagonists. Photography which shows what is. Moments in time. With their candor and personal perspective, the photographs offer an authentic look at East Germany. They document a contentious past reality which affects us still today.

In addition to Sibylle Bergemann’s emblematic and multi-award-winning images of the creation and installation of the Marx-Engels monument, and her unmatched humanistic portraits of "Clärchens Ball House" („Clärchens Ballhaus"), there is Werner Mahler’s study of the Thuringian village Berka and his photographic series of the high school graduating class of 1978, whom he continued to document for over 30 years. Harald Hauswald’s photo essay tells of the melancholy and subtle comedy of daily life in the GDR, while Ute Mahler’s sensitive portrait series „Living Together“ ("Zusammen leben") records, over the course of a few years, the private lives of individuals. Last but not least, Maurice Weiss’ documentation of the days following the fall of the Berlin Wall builds a bridge to this period of political upheaval.

OSTZEIT. Stories from a vanished Country

… is an exhibit which can complete as well as expand the image of the former GDR, which, for many, has been shaped since 2007 by the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen). OSTZEIT was exhibited with minor changes in September 2009 to great success at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin.

The exhibit comprises 181 b/w-photographs. All pieces are different, yet thematically uniform and installation-ready, framed in 80 x 60 cm, 70 x 50 cm, 60 x 50 cm formats, as well as small format frames for installation groupings.

High resolution scans of a variety of motifs are available for press, invitation card, and poster printing needs. Also available on CD as editable documents, in both German and English language, are press materials, photo captions, a personal time line of the artist, and upon request, also exhibit texts. A comprehensive catalogue (288 pages, 190 illustrations, German/English, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2009) can be ordered at a wholesale price. Additional foreign language editions can be printed.

Further information available upon request.

Werner Mahler: Fan of First FC Union Berlin, 1980
Sibylle Bergemann: 1976, Berlin- Mitte, Augustenstrasse, Clärchens Ballhaus
Harald Hauswald: 1982, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, Kastanienallee, courtyard, the first punks of East Berlin
Ute Mahler: 1972, Thuringia, singing festival
Maurice Weiss: December 1989, Berlin, Friedrichstrasse Train Station, border crossing
Werner Mahler: Miner below ground, 1975,  VEB coal mining factory, Zwickau
Harald Hauswald: 1984, Berlin, Marx- Engels- PLatz ( today Schlossplatz) in front oft he GDR 
          Foreign Ministry
Sibylle Bergemann: The Monument