Affordable Access

Gender equality in the GDR’s artist community: Preliminary data analysis of the Ninth National Art Exhibition in Dresden

  • Mézière, Lucas (author)
Publication Date
Apr 29, 2021
TU Delft Repository
External links


Three decades after the reunification of Germany, the History of a nation standing on the cutting line of a binary world continues to unfold and reveal its complexities. Today, many traits underlying two opposing ideologies persist in reminding the time when East and West Germany followed different paths. The condition of women is one of those. GDR’s socialist politics put the nation in a pioneering position in the way towards gender equality and women’s independency, particularly in their relation to work . In the context of cold war, visual arts played a prominent role in the construction and spreading of ideologies. From US Comics to Socialist Realism, artists participated in shaping the narrative of a binary world. German Democratic Republic, as a young nation part of the soviet bloc, was no exception. The reconstruction of East Germany was done under the light of artworks spreading the vision of the socialist ideal. Surfing on the thin line between pure Art and propaganda, countless creations, such as the notorious Unser Sandmännchen [Our Sandman] , influenced the way East German society pictured itself and envisioned the future. Given those two simple observations, it is worth wondering how GDR progressive politics regarding women’s condition reverberated in the artistic sphere, a key-element in the shaping of East German society. To this end, this article will be mainly investigating a unique data set. On the occasion of the ninth National Art Exhibition of the GDR, held in 1982, artists willing to participate were required to fill a standardized application form. This collection almost 3000 forms constitutes a sample of comparable primary data. The research will be based on the analysis of this data, the goal being to extract geographical, temporal, political, and social data, with a focus on gender distribution. As an authoritarian government adept of propaganda, the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands [Social Unity Party of Germany]) inevitably throws a veil of uncertainty on internal social and political studies, for the eye of the researcher . The examination of raw data will allow to outline tendencies, without having to deal with state influenced studies. This will hopefully help to achieve a higher degree of trust in the depiction of basic trends in the artistic community in the GDR. Using observation and data analysis as the driver of this research, the goal is as well to develop a contextual theory on how to deal with this data, as well as how to build reliable knowledge and investigation methodology from it. / AR2A011 / Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences

Report this publication


Seen <100 times