Leipzig from 1983 to 1988


Rebellion - Painting as Awareness of Life

The official art of the German Democratic Republic of the 1980s was largely shaped by the dogma of socialist realism - a routinized and figurative painting style whose function was to support and illustrate the state’s ideological view of society.

Linde Hartmann, however, wanted something different. Her answer to coercion and stagnation was an art which rubs up against the received order, acting rebelliously, impulsively and with relish against narrowness. In her works she deliberately and aggressively violates the inculcated rules, pushes with powerful gestures against the boundary of her existence and beyond the boundaries of the format. Thus for example the dynamics and suspense-filled complexity of Linde R. Hartmann’s pictures convey a sense of the GDR of the 1980s - a society in an atmosphere in tension between the claims to power of an ossified caste of political functionaries and the call towards openness, democratization and “Glasnost”.

It is entirely consistent that the title of one of the first pictures in which Linde R. Hartmann publicly announces her break with the painting style prescribed by Leipzig University is “Fürchte dich nicht” (”Don’t be afraid”). What now follows is no cautious quest, rather the direct expression - the visceral made into art - of a powerful yearning to transcend. Her painting becomes the most direct and gripping graphic representation of struggle and turmoil, and still transfixes the observer today.

Anyone who wants to categorize the totality of Linde Hartmann’s work and place it neatly in an art history pigeonhole has a real job on their hands. When you look at her work, you are confronted by a broad spectrum of different techniques and artistic approaches. The first insight: here, change itself is the common thread. Linde R. Hartmann openly rejects the rehashing of one-off solutions and the construction of a standardized formal language, if you will, as a “brand”.

One element that unites all her work is a characteristic painting style that defies normal painting conventions and is strongly defined by a graphic approach almost bursting with tension.
When you look closer, what reveals itself behind the whole complex of paintings, drawings and collages is a basic motivation concerned with giving expression to an attitude to life determined by a particular era. Look below the surface of an intensive and mostly expressive exploration of color and form, and you will find encoded emotions, contradictions and configurations that challenge the observer to constantly reinterpret the work.

Ansgar van Zeul, 2002

>> Paintings 1983 – 1988