January 23rd - April 30th, at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
In early 1980s Germany, an alternative art scene caused an international sensation with its strident protests and targeted provocations. Rather than relying on mastery, its protagonists strove for self-organization in keeping with the idea of “do-it-yourself”. They manifested their desire for a radical break in the record labels, magazines, galleries and clubs they founded, and in their independently produced records and cassettes. Especially the art academies saw the development of an artistic dynamic distinguished by cross-media experimentation. Bands such as “Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.)”, “Palais Schaumburg” or “Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle (F.S.K.)” moreover deliberately set themselves apart from the English-speaking mainstream with their German names and lyrics. In 1981, a festival took place at Berlin’s Tempodrom with an intentionally misspelt title that was to become a synonym for this German subculture of the early eighties: “Geniale Dilletanten” (“Genial Dilletantes”).
The exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) will introduce the protagonists and venues of the art scenes in various vanguard cities in West and East Germany. The focus will be on seven music bands as well as artists, filmmakers and designers of the early eighties. “Geniale Dilletanten” will provide insights into the multifaceted connections between these players and how the concurrent developments in art, film, fashion and design influenced one another. The show will feature videos, photos, music, magazines, posters, fashion, a specially made interview film and other objects bearing witness to the subculture in question.
“Geniale Dilletanten” was conceived by the Goethe-Institut as a travelling exhibition and is being substantially expanded for its presentation at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. The show was curated by Mathilde Weh of the Goethe-Institut’s visual arts department.
January 22, 2016