Enlarge image Tübkes´s monumental work of art "Frühbürgerliche Revolution in Deutschland" (Early Bourgeois Revolution Germany) in the Panoramamuseum, Bad Frankenhausen (© picture-alliance/ dpa)
Since the 1990s German painting and photography have been enjoying international success. Abroad, this new German painting revelation is known under the label “Young German Artists“. The artists involved come from Leipzig, Berlin and Dresden. Neo Rauch is the best known representative of the “New Leipzig School“. His style is characterized by a new realism that has emerged, free of all ideology, from the former “Leipzig School” of East German art. The paintings reveal for the most part pale figures that would appear to be waiting for something indefinite; a reflection, perhaps, of the situation in Germany at the beginning of the new millennium. So-called “Dresden Pop“, propagated among others by Thomas Scheibitz, references the aesthetics of advertising, TV and video to playfully deal with the aesthetics of finding certainty in the here and now.
For most younger artists, dealing with the Nazi era, as was the case in the works of Hans Haacke, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys, belongs to the past. Rather, a “new interiority” and an interest in spheres of experience that collide with one another are emerging in the art scene: The works of Jonathan Meese and André Butzer reflect depression and compulsive phenomena; they are seen as representatives of “Neurotic Realism“. The subject of Franz Ackermann’s “Mental Maps”, in which he points out the disasters behind the facades, is the world as a global village. Tino Sehgal, whose art exists only at the time it is performed and is not allowed to be filmed, is aiming for forms of production and communication that have nothing to do with the market economy. The interest shown in art in Germany can also be witnessed at the documenta, the leading exhibition of contemporary art worldwide held every five years in Kassel. In contrast to the fine arts – whose importance is underlined by the boom in the foundation of new private museums – photography had to struggle for a long time to be accepted as an art form in its own right. Katharina Sieverding, who in her self portraits sounds out the boundaries between the individual and society, is considered to be a 1970s pioneer. The breakthrough came in the 1990s with the success of three young men who studied under the photographer duo Bernd and Hilla Becher: Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff portray in their pictures a double-edged high-gloss reality and possess such a trailblazing international influence that they are simply referred to as “Struffsky”.
© Young Germany