Group aspect

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Poster for the exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin 1977

The Aspect group was an amalgamation of eleven West Berlin painters and sculptors of critical realism . The group existed from 1972 to 1978.


In the second half of the 1960s, a young generation of art students appeared in West Berlin who no longer wanted to work abstractly or informally like their professors and who propagated a new realism . In 1964, students of the HdK founded the artist self-help gallery Großgörschen 35 with the aim of overcoming common market strategies. Encouraged by the politicization of society by the 1968 movement , the shooting of Benno Ohnesorg at the demonstration on June 2, 1967 in West Berlin against the Shah of Persia and the assassination attempt on Rudi Dutschke , the artists of critical realism formed. With the help of overpointing, caricature drawings and assembly techniques, they sought to grapple with the apolitical idyll of the affluent bourgeoisie, which flourished again in the years after the Second World War . They denounced war, terror, exploitation and corruption, pointed to the suffering of the helpless and failed livelihoods or drew attention to marginalized groups in German society. For a long time, critical realism was practically an identity mark for West Berlin art. Gallery owners such as Georg Nothelfer , Rudolf Springer , Michael Wewerka, Mike Cullen, René Block or Eva Poll build the Berlin image. In 1968 the group of artists at the Großgörschengalerie split into expressive painters like Markus Lüpertz and Karl Horst Hödicke and critical realists like Peter Sorge , Ulrich Baehr , Hans-Jürgen Diehl and Wolfgang Petrick . The Poll gallery, founded in the same year , included the realists in its program.

In 1972, documenta 5, under the direction of Harald Szeemann , showed painters of American photorealism such as Chuck Close and Ralph Goings , who in their paintings show trucks, trucks and pick-ups, reflections on chrome-plated bumpers and objects on tables in restaurants, toothpick containers, salt and pepper shakers or ketchup bottles. The first reviews of the painters exhibited in Kassel resembled Verrissen. In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of July 8, 1972, there was talk of “pedantic clothing”. It was also said that pedantry replaces genius. Like the Americans, the Critical Realists used photographs as templates for their work, but they assembled the pictures as set pieces and placed them in other contexts, referring to models such as George Grosz , Hannah Höch or John Heartfield , the principle of collage and Dada . In response to the “exclusively technical reproduction of environmental details in a painting that only aims at superficiality”, eleven West Berlin artists founded the group Aspect.


Stylistic devices

The group's first joint appearance took place in 1972 at the Free Berlin Art Exhibition . A first traveling exhibition was held under the title Realism Principle from 1972 to 1974 in various European countries. In 1977 another project was realized under the motto Aspect Big City . As a common starting point they agreed on the triptych “Großstadt” by Otto Dix .

The artists in the group did not have a clearly defined program and worked independently on their concepts in “closed studios”. The choice of subject, material and motif should remain individual. What they all had in common, in addition to the realistic intention, was the need to distinguish themselves from the American photo and hyperrealists and the need to reflect political experiences in an artistic production. No other project was implemented after 1978.

Publications of the aspect group


Follow-up exhibitions (selection)

Artists from the aspect group took part in the following exhibitions with the theme "Realism":

  • 1977: Berlin now. Contemporary Art 1977 , New School Art Center, New York
  • 1978: Ugly Realism , Institute of Contemporary Arts , London
  • 1979: West Berlin Realists , Elefanten Press Galerie Berlin, Kunsthalle of the All Union Association of Visual Artists of the USSR, Moscow, Kunsthalle Rostock
  • 1980: Berlin realistic. 1890–1980 , Berlinische Galerie , Berlin
  • 1980: feminist art internationaal , de Osterpoort, Groningen; Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch; de Vleeshal, Middelburg; de Vest, Alkmaar; Cultureel Centrum de Beyerd, Breda
  • 1981: feminist art internationaal , Nijmegs Museum, Nijmeegen; Denmark, Sweden
  • 1983: Man and landscape in contemporary painting and graphics in the FRG , Moscow, Leningrad
  • 1983: 25 mladih nemskih slikarjev , Moderna Galeria, Ljubljana
  • 1986: 15 Berlin artists in Brazil / 15 Artistas Berlinenes no Brasil , AK Museu de Arte de São Paulo
  • 1987: Positions of Realism 1967-1972-1987 , Galerie Poll , Berlin
  • 1988: Stations of Modernity , Martin-Gropius-Bau , Berlin
  • 1989: 40 years of art in Germany , Städtische Galerie , Oberhausen; Berlin; Rostock
  • 2012: New beginnings in realism. The new reality in the picture after 1968 , Städtische Museen Heilbronn / Kunsthalle Vogelmann
  • 2015: West: Berlin , Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin in the Ephraim-Palais , Berlin

Literature (selection)

  • Berlin now. Contemporary Art 1977. Goethe-House New York, German Academic Exchange Service and Senate for Art and Science, Berlin / New York 1977.
  • Berlin. A critical view. Ugly Realism 20s-70s. Institute of Contemporary Arts and Berliner Filmfestspiele GmbH , London / Berlin 1978.
  • Art in Berlin from 1960 to today. Volume 2: holdings 1960–1979. (3 volumes in total), Berlinische Galerie , Berlin 1979.
  • Berlin. A plaster for artists. In: art - the art magazine . No. 4 / April 1985.
  • Jörg-Uwe Albig: Are the neo-realists artists or just copyists? In: art - the art magazine . No. 3 / March 1986, pp. 8, 9.
  • Frank Nicolaus: Knowledge of encouragement and criticism within a shouting distance . (Art series artist couples: Peter Sorge and Maina-Miriam Munsky). In: art - the art magazine . No. 9 / September 1986, pp. 76-85.
  • Positions of Realism 1967-1972-1987. Poll editions published by the Poll Gallery , Berlin 1987.
  • Cross-section. 1968 back and forth. Polleditions, Volume 49, published by the Poll Gallery , Berlin 1998.
  • Lucie Schauer : End and turn. Art landscape Berlin from 1945 to today. (Statement series S 28). Lindinger + Schmid, Regensburg 1999.
  • Michael Nungesser : Political Realism. Consumer society in the pillory. In: Awakening Realism. The new reality in the picture after '68. City museums Heilbronn . Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-86678-686-8 .
  • Jan Schüler : Paint away the fear. About birth, death and the change in life. In: Maina-Miriam Munsky. Paint away the fear. Inventory of paintings and drawings 1964–1998. Verlag Kettler, Bönen 2013, ISBN 978-3-86206-292-8 .
  • Großgörschen 35th departure for the art city Berlin 1964 . Exhibition catalog with texts by Barbara Esch Marowski, Lothar C. Poll , Eckhart J. Gillen . Haus am Kleistpark in cooperation with the Poll Art Foundation , Berlin 2014.
  • Aspect. In: Christoph Wilhelmi: Groups of artists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since 1900. A manual. Hauswedell, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-7762-0400-1 , pp. 69-70 (No. 21).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. see: Jan Schüler , Maina-Miriam Munsky. Paint away the fear. Inventory of paintings and drawings 1964–1998. Verlag Kettler, Bönen 2013, pp. 23, 24, ISBN 978-3-86206-292-8 .
  2. see: Lucie Schauer : End and Turn. Art landscape Berlin from 1945 to today. (Statement series S 28). Lindinger + Schmid, Regensburg 1999.
  3. see: Eckhart J. Gillen : group picture without lady . In: Großgörschen 35th departure for the art city Berlin 1964 . Haus am Kleistpark in cooperation with the Poll Art Foundation , Berlin 2014.
  4. see: Manifesto of the group Aspect in: Aspect Big City . With texts by Eberhard Roters and Katrin Sello . Edited by Künstlerhaus Bethanien and the aspect group, Berlin 1977.
  5. see: Jan Schüler , Maina-Miriam Munsky. Paint away the fear. Inventory of paintings and drawings 1964–1998. Verlag Kettler, Bönen 2013, p. 26, ISBN 978-3-86206-292-8 .