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1971 » German Democratic Republic » Stage design and costumes

Curator:Gerhard Heinemann
Authors of Theme:Dietrich Dorfstecher


The contribution of the German Democratic Republic to the Prague Quadrennial 1971 intends to be more than a gallery of fine pictures only. Not that the painting or graphic attraction — that can be conveyed by design — was to be disregarded. On the contrary: to be a perfect master of painting and graphic techniques is quite a natural precondition of the stage designer´s art, and the artistic creation of a design — if we leave out of account the purely pictural impression — demonstrates its value not until on the stage. The visitor to such an exhibition, however, should be given the opportunity to compare the draft with the finished product, the designer solely aims at. Therefore special attention has been focussed on the presentation of models and photos, yet on original details as well, such as costumes, masks and properties. The excellence and the beauty of the sketch itself depends solely on the craft of the designer; the result of the collective work, however, is of decisive importance for the final effect: it is dependent upon the stage director, the workshops and last but not least upon the time and the financial means being available for the preparation of a performance at a theatre. But not only the way from the final draft to the performance constitutes a collective process being influenced by a number of factors. Already the development of sketches for a character has the form of a team-work — or ought to have it. In some characteristic cases we have included first sketches, experimental variants and also legends of projects, in order to demonstrate in full the process of development that comes about through the co-operation of the stage and costume designer with the stage director and the dramaturgist, with the technicians, and — last but not least with the actors. This style of work proves that „there is no recipe for the finding of a set" (Andreas Reinhardt). The ways are individual and the results as view. Nevertheless there is one thing in common: from the variety of individual styles a „realistic way of writing" (B. Brecht) results for the theatre of socialist Germany as a fundamental point of view. The socialist realism stands the test as an efficacious method within the scope of stagy work. The stage designers choose from the abundance of means being today at their disposal those which hold a great social efficacity and discover new ones. The correspondence with the audience during the performance but also during the preparatory phase of the productions is developing more and more into a significant element. Not only the work of big theatres is on show at our exhibition. Mediumsized and small theatres, too, are represented, which often, under difficult conditions, succeed in managing a large-scale production. Information on the size and the audience of these theatres enable the viewer to assess their work. The arrangement of the GDR exposition is governed by the character of the plays: it puts together sets to plays of kindred kind and origin. But this arrangement facilitating the comparison between various stage-set solutions has not been strictly ca m e d through; in some cases it has been deliberately broken in order to display the work of a single theatre on the whole. An exhibition of sets — all the more so as it is accompanied by an exhibition of theatre architecture — is according to its nature always a theatre exhibition. Thus our contribution conveys not only an impression of the stage design concerns in the German Democratic Republic but on the whole gives an insight into the theatre scenery of the socialist German state.

Exhibiting artists / ateliers

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  • Achim Freyer
  • Karl von Appen
  • Dieter Berge
  • Rolf Döge
  • Peter Friede
  • Manfred Grund
  • Franz Havemann
  • Pieter Hein
  • Theo Hug
  • Otto Kähler
  • Heinrich Kilger
  • Andreas Reinhardt
  • Eberhard Söhnel
  • Thekla Tesch
  • Walter Wallbaum
  • Falk von Wangelin
  • Wilfried Werz
  • Ralf Winkler
  • Reínhart Zimmermann
  • Annemarie Rost
  • Gerhard Arnold
  • Eberhard Bleichert
  • Joachim Bober
  • Frank Borisch
  • Christiane Dorst
  • Alwin Eckert
  • Jochen Finke
  • Peter Gemarius de Kepper
  • Lothar Göpfert
  • Charlotte Gotthardt
  • Gabriele Hähne
  • Gunter Kaiser
  • Dieter Lange
  • Horst Leiteritz
  • Dagmar Melchers
  • Edda Naumann
  • Horst Sagert
  • Lothar Scharsich
  • Christine Schmutzler
  • Elisabeth Selle
  • Erika Simmank-Heinze
  • Christine Stromberg
  • Peter Sykora
  • Manfred Voigt
  • Volker Walther
  • Fritz Werner
  • Eleonore Kleiber
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