»Nature Morte 1983 – 1985«
Simultaneously to the main exhibition by Miwa Yanagi, the series Nature Morte 1983 – 1985 by Manfred Paul will be exhibited in the showroom. Inspired by the motive of Vanitas, his photographs are a reflection on life as well as a depiction of the notion of intimacy in the GDR.
Manfred Paul is an important representative of East German photography. Alongside Arno Fischer or Sibylle Bergemann, he contributed to shape a multifaceted image of a period that was often oversimplified. Born in 1942 in Schraplau, he has been living in Berlin since the 1960´s. In 1967 he started exploring the neighborhood in Prenzlauer Berg with his camera. He rapidly felt the unconscious need to document a world that he sensed was only temporary. Walls, cul-de-sacs and inner courtyards are recurrent subjects in his photographs, like visual metaphors of a restrictive regime that Manfred Paul could not directly criticize. He also found a certain beauty in these old buildings marked by the effects of war. In fact, he saw in them a material reminder of the passage of time and the fate to which our lives are destined.
As he set his camera in the courtyards, the residents invited him into their apartments and their intimacy. Behind the desolate walls, life went on. He photographed ashtrays, vases, or dirty dishes as an ode to life, revealing that everyone’s existence is only a sequence of trivial, raw and mundane scenes, yet powerfully beautiful.
His still life images depicting eggs, rotting fruit, or fish also echo the Vanitas or Memento mori. It is nothing less than a reminder of the transience of life and the necessity to grasp every second of it. Manfred Paul belongs to a long line of artists who have all been trying to make sense of the inevitability of death and the meaning of life.
Manfred Paul‘s photographs have been shown in numerous solo and group shows, including dkw Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus (2016); Forum für Fotografie, Cologne (2015); NRW Forum Düsseldorf DZ Bank (2014); Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst (2013 und 2012); Kunsthalle Kopenhagen (1996); Musée de l´Elysee, Lausanne (1990). Works by Manfred Paul are a. o. in the following private and public collections: Berlinische Galerie, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, dkw Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus, DZ Bank Frankfurt/Main, Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden, Musée de l’ Elysée Lausanne, Museum Ludwig Köln, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.