Drawings Of A Germany Divided At British Museum

Post-war Germany was understandably a difficult time and place to be, particularly for those on the east side of the Iron Curtain. This exhibition charts six artists who all originally started off in East Germany before moving to the West. They had to deal with the guilt of the Nazi generation before them and this is reflected in the isolation and sadness integrated into their art.

The exhibition features over 90 prints and drawings. The first room focuses on five of the artists, including Gerhard Richter, but these drawings are not their best works and with the exception of an intense self-portrait by A.R. Penck and some bold abstract works by Blinky Palermo, these can’t compare to paintings by the same artists.

The second room is where this exhibition comes to life as it’s dedicated to the art of Georg Baselitz, who has easily the most impressive works in this collection. A lone malformed duck-like creature is a vision of loneliness while a cow sliced into segments shocks because of the way it appears unfazed by its dismemberment.

Baselitz’s ‘heroes’ series features broad shouldered men but their fate is less fortuitous than the title suggests, as the drawings reveal their feet in traps and a hand stuck in a crevice. The latest works are his upside down drawings where, by inverting a picture, he changes the perspective – most notably with an eagle, where the power of the symbol is stripped by simply inverting it. There is a haunting intensity to Baselitz’s work, which makes for a powerful and moving exhibition.

Germany Divided: Baselitz and his generation is on at The British Museum until 31 August. Entrance is free.

Also still on at The British Museum is the golden Beyond El Dorado. Admission charge applies.

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