und, frauen miteinander
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.
und, frauen miteinander (and, women together) was originally created as a picture book in 1982/83. It documents a series of photograph sessions after Stötzer had been in jail and marks her falling out with socialist society and her personal attempt to live with other women in the present. Stötzer playfully explores the female body, but rarely perceives it as a whole. Instead, she presents it as something fragmented, concealed with paints, veiled in cloth, represented in the context of other bodies or the natural and material world around it.
In an unpublished manuscript, the artist wrote: “It was about art and spiritual survival. For me, that meant discovering archetypical female models beyond the present and turning these into visions. We made sounds and music and yelled together with the idea of working toward a female language. We changed the socialist image of women completely.” With great emotional depth, humour and self-confidence, her works explore woman’s breaking new aesthetic ground in an archaic pictorial language.
Courtesy Gabriele Stötzer