German-Russian Artists: "It Is Normal to be Different"

From the Website of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany

Russlanddeutsche Kuenstler: "Es ist normal verschieden zu sein"

Von der Website der Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland

From the official website the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany: ( (Located under its German title)

Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado.

"We need to learn something so difficult, yet so simple: It is normal to be different." These words by the former President of the Federal Republic, Richard von Weizsaecker, reflect that the visitors of a collective exhibition by German-Russian artists were able to see for themselves within the Action-Hall of the New Expo at the [Landsmannschaft's] Bundestreffen.

Twelve artists (Ella Kalezki, Eduard Deibert, Renate Storck, Maria Tribus, Viktor Land, Natalia Dueck, Aleander Windholz, Lena Herzen, Guenther Hummerl, Andreas Prediger, Boris Wald and Alexander Kopp) exhibited works of strongly differing artistic directions: portraits, landscape paintings and floral motifs, concrete and abstract art in oil, warter color paintings, collages, and sculptures. All generations that returned to Germany from the former Soviet Union within the last 25 years were represented. Connecting the life stories of the artists with their corresponding works allowed one to recognize clearly that their pictures and objects speak of German-Russian history.

The relative intensity by which this topic comes through depends on whether the artists personally experienced deportation to Siberia or Kazakhstan, as Guenther Hummel, Andreas Prediger, and Eduard Deibert did, or whether they are part of the subsequent generation, who see these as events in their parents' lives. The differences in experience and in age are very strong. The older generation seeks to express the tragic experiences in image and object, while the younger generation is searching for a new orientations. What does connect the works of German-Russian artists is not style, expression or theme. The connecting element is the biographical, which in various facets comes to light again and again.

These works of German-Russian artists remain barely familiar to the public. However, the exhibited works do, in their great differences and variety, represent an entire group of the population. Pictures and sculptures transport personal and historical experiences, views of life, and hopes. Viewed in this context, painters, graphic artists and sculptors are indeed the voice of the Germans from Russia.

All day long there was constant traffic at the various exhibit stations. Numerous friends of the arts took advantage of the opportunity to converse with the artists.

From Viktor Land, chair of the working group "Bildende Kunst [Fine Arts]" of the Landsmannschaft it was possible to purchase the art album "Nach Hause kommen ... [Coming home ...]," which documents exhibits by ten German-Russian artists (three of whom were represented in Karlsruhe) in churches in around the Lahr area. An exhibit by Nikolaus Rode in the Sankt-Martin Chuirch in Lahr was visited in February, 2004 by the then President of the German Federal Republic, Johannes Rau, and it met with great interest nation-wide.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller