Gundula Schulze Eldowy
The solo exhibition shows the austere, civilization-critical images of one of the most important representatives of German photography, Gundula Schulze Eldowy. Her exhibited works were created between 1977 and 1990, predominantly in East Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig,
On display are 120 black-and-white and color photographs, as well as one video.
An emaciated sheep in a slaughterhouse, precisely dancing ballerinas at the barre, and a birthing woman on a blood-soaked birth chair — Between the late 1970s and the fall of the GDR, Gundula Schulze Eldowy (*1954) created a captivating portrayal of Berlin and East Germany with unsettling and poignant images. Detached from official commissions, the artist pushed the limits of societal taboos.
Gundula Schulze Eldowy's work serves as a profound depiction of a country that was geographically close to the West but remained distant internally. In urban wanderings, the depths of an inner universe are revealed, consistently portraying the marginalized and destitute, as well as the decay, loneliness, absurdities, and everyday realities of life in East Germany at that time.
With her visual representations, Schulze Eldowy defies the idealized portrayal of the leadership of the GDR, offering a counterpoint to its official narrative. Her images become powerful metaphors, transcending the boundaries of national conditionality, reaching towards the profound alienation of humanity within the ambit of modern civilization.
On the artist: Gundula Schulze Eldowy (b. 1954 in Erfurt, Germany) left her hometown in 1972 and moved to East Berlin. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig from 1979 to 1984. In 1985 Schulze Eldowy met the famous Swiss-American artist Robert Frank in East Berlin and became friends with him. Following an intense exchange of letters, Schulze Eldowy spent several formative years in New York. In 1996 she was awarded the twelfth Prize for Overseas Photographers at the Higashikawa Photo Fiesta. In 2000 Schulze Eldowy took her first trip to Bolivia and Peru; she married Javier A. Garcia Vásquez, the Indigenous Peruvian ceramic artist and shaman of the Moche. In 2010 she became a member of the Saxon Academy of Arts in Dresden, and in 2019 she became a member of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. She lives in Peru and Berlin. Gundula Schulze Eldowy’s photographs are part of international collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.