Klaus Hähner-Springmühl, born in Zwickau (Saxony) in 1950, died in Leipzig in 2006, was one of East Germany’s most idiosyncratic artists. From the 1970s onwards, he was a radical performer who experienced and documented his life as an art process, not on the sunny side of the socialist establishment but shoulder to shoulder with therebelsof his generation in Karl-Marx-Stadt, Dresden, Leipzig and East Berlin. Hähner-Springmühl appeared as an outlandish fortune-seeker, always open to things unheard of and to chance, continually askew with the normalizing injunctions of the political system. He did not avoid battles, trying out possible forms and making things happen – as a boxer, an artist and a musician. His expressive pictorial sketches, photographs, abrasive painted-over photos, objects, montages-demontages, actions and free-jazz interventions were astonishing and wonderfully open to risk. He wanted nothing to do with GDR state art. That is why it will always be a mistake to try and incorporate or draw him into that nationalized web of lies. Those who were close to him saw him as a guiding light, although personally, he was suspicious of any claim to leadership, and he could successfully evade any demands on him, as well as the regulating powers. He immersed himself in chaos, fragmenting his surroundings in his own perception; but he remained calm, as if sending out signals from a well-tempered universe. Time came off the rails when he was hammering out his tune. (Christoph Tannert)
A catalogue is appearing for the exhibition (128 pages, German / English), priced at 25 Euros; it presents the artist’s largely unknown works and includes texts by Gunar Barthel, Erich WolfgangHartzsch, Barbara Köhler, Claus Löser, Florian Merkel, Olaf Nicolai, Christoph Tannert and Joerg Waehner.
We will be showing the filmRichterstr. 9 by Erich WolfgangHartzsch in the exhibitionat 7pm on 1st February 2013; Hartzsch was an active member, alongside Klaus Hähner-Springmühl,ofthe legendaryfree-jazz formation "Kartoffelschälmaschine". Filmhistorian and catalogue author Dr. Claus Löser will provide an introduction to this work.
Special thanks are due to Mike Hähner-Springmühl and Gitte Hähner-Springmühl, without whom it would have been impossible to realize this project.
We also appreciate the generosity of Gunar Barthel and Tobias Tetzner in lending us documents, materials and works of art.
We are very grateful to boesner GmbH / supplier of artist materials for the support given to us.