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Ulrich Wüst: Public and Private – East Germany in Photographs cover image
UK £40.00
US $60.00
CAN $77.99
Hardback with jacket
176 pages
200 illustrations
29 x 25 cm (11.5 x 9.75 in)
ISBN: 978-1-8589-4661-0
Published in the UK March 2018
Published in the US March 2018
Ulrich Wüst: Public and Private – East Germany in Photographs
Gary A. Van Zante

Born in East Germany in 1949, Ulrich Wüst trained as an urban planner and began making photographs of GDR cities in the 1970s. Documenting the expansion of prefabricated housing and its dehumanizing effects, Wüst found that, through the camera, he had a means by which to interrogate socialist city planning. His most important work, Stadtbilder ('City Views', 1979–87), was an uncompromising critique of the public realm and the realities of city-building in the GDR. During the 1980s Wüst's interests broadened to include the private sphere of the collective society around him. He acquired a pocket camera, which made it easier to photograph candidly at parties and nightclubs, in apartments and through shop windows. Probing the private retreat from an oppressive totalitarian regime, his grainy snapshots of everyday life in East Berlin testified to the uncertainties in the decade leading to reunification. The authorities banned Wüst's work just once: a series called Die Pracht der Macht ('The Pomp of Power', 1984–90), which documented monumental architecture. The artist photographed primarily for himself, and to archive his prolific collection of images, he favoured an accordion-style journal known as a leporello. He relied almost exclusively on 35mm black-and-white film, having access to reliable colour materials much later in his career. After the collapse of the GDR in 1990, Wüst’s photography reached an international audience for the first time, and came to be recognized as one of the strongest aesthetic statements made in a socialist state. The alteration of Berlin after reunification became one of his most enduring subjects. This is the first monograph devoted to Wüst, and the first book in English to focus on his work. Gary Van Zante's lead essay chronicles Wüst's artistic evolution. The main section of the book features close to 200 images dating from the late 1970s to 2012, including Wüst's distinctive leporellos, with a brief introduction to each series of photographs. The book concludes with an in-depth interview with the artist and a comprehensive list of exhibitions and bibliography.

 

The first monograph on the German photographer Ulrich Wüst, who began his career in East Germany in the 1970s

Features 200 photographs illuminating public and private life behind the Iron Curtain and the early years of post-reunification Germany

Accompanies a touring solo retrospective exhibition in the United States organized by the MIT Museum

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Author Profile

Gary A. Van Zante is Curator of Architecture, Design and Photography at the MIT Museum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is also Director of the Wolk Gallery. He has curated more than fifty exhibitions, including, recently, the work of photographers Berenice Abbott, Gabriele Basilico, Cervin Robinson, Joël Tettamanti and Ulrich Wüst. His published work includes New Orleans 1867, a monograph on the nineteenth-century American photographer Theodore Lilienthal (Merrell, 2008).

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