Gabriele Stötzer (*1953, Germany; married name Kachold from 1973-79) was a member of the GDR’s experimental Super 8 scene in the 1980s. She primarily worked with other artists in her circle of friends, using archaic image structures to arrive at new models of femininity. Her camera breathed down the neck of her subjects, which often included her own naked body. In 1980, she began creating multi-media, interdisciplinary art. She consistently and radically created her own pictorial language, rebelled against the official role of women in the GDR and subverted the fixed ideas of women in patriarchy in her art. Her confrontational attitude in her search for female utopian worlds in the GDR brought legal repercussions and vehement rejection from her fellow artists. In 1977 she spent a year in jail for signing a petition against the SED government’s stripping of songwriter Wolf Biermann’s citizenship and afterwards became the director of the privately managed gallery, Galerie im Flur until it was forced to close down in 1981. In 1984, she helped form one of the few groups of women artists in the GDR, Exterra XX (1983-89). The group developed films and fashion shows in an attempt to establish a niche in public space where life and art could merge in a sensual way.
In her Super 8 film Trisal, Gabriele Stötzer rewrote the Greek legend that assigned the ram its place as the astrological sign of Aries. The animal saved the lives of a prince and a princess and was slaughtered as payment for his deed. Its hide was turned into the Golden Fleece and its body became a constellation of stars in the heavens. The willingness to make sacrifices and death and rebirth are the subjects of this narrative short film, for which the filmmaker expressly used only female protagonists. As in many of her other works with film, photography and performance, Stötzer playfully explores the female body. But the body is rarely perceived as a whole. Instead, it is presented as something fragmented, concealed with paints, veiled in cloth or represented in the context of other bodies or the natural and material world around it.
Performers: Monika Andres and Verena Kyselka
Courtesy Gabriele Stötzer