29 years after the Wall fell: Else Gabriel reflects on ‘Autoperforationsartisten,’ a 1980s performance group that challenged norms of art world in the GDR

Photo (c) David Fischer


Nov. 9, 1989 was a historical turning point. This week, we look back and forward, bringing you different perspectives on the 29th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

Today Else Gabriel is a professor in the Sculpture Department at Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. She also has a permanent art piece in the courtyard of the Paul-Löbe-Haus, where the parliamentarian groups of the German Bundestag have their offices.

But back in the 1980s, she lived in Dresden and belonged to an artist group that challenged the norms of the art world in the GDR. We revisit a conversation with Gabriel from 2016 and ask about her work, the group’s legacy, and why she says, “we weren’t left by the GDR, we left it in advance.”

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