A creative artist, who tried to adapt himself to the conceptions and requirements of the GDR regime and who ran there into borders in several respects, is the painter, graphic artist and sculptor A. R. Penck, native Ralf Winkler. Artists without borders: The painter A. R. Penck
1939 he was born in Dresden and works next to the name Penck, which date from the German geologist and geographer Albrecht Penck, under various pseudonyms. Since 1976 he signed his works partly just with the letter Y. After an annual painting and drawing lesson he applied to the “Hochschule für Bildende Künste” in Dresden and East Berlin, but he was rejected several times. He traced this back to his political attitude.
From 1966, after various other activities for making money, he applied again to his artistic creation and strived 1969 for a membership in the “Verband Bildender Künstler der DDR (VBK)”.
However this membership was denied because of increasingly difficulties with the Stasi, which levied works of Penck, too. 1975 Penck received the “Will-Grohmann-Preis” by the “Akademie der Künste” in West-Berlin. This had the effect of further Stasi controls.
Pencks works are unmistakably by their plain language of forms and the use of simple and easily understandable signs and stick figures, as in this work. His works remind partially of Asian characters or graffiti and sometimes even of presentations in cave paintings. 1976 arises out of the acquaintanceship between Penck and the West German painter Jörg Immendorff a perennial cooperation, during that the both artists campaign for the Fall of the Wall and for political dissidents. His political engagement lead to the confiscation of Pencks’ images, a burglary in his studio in which notes and pictures were destroyed and finally in 1980 to his move to the West.
A. R. Penck get several art prices for his works for example the “Rembrandt-Preis” or the “Kunstpreis Aachen” and became professor of painting at the “Kunstakademie Düsseldorf”. He participates repeatedly and successfully in the “Documenta” in Kassel and lives and works in the Irish Dublin since 2003.
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(Translation: Valerie Holbein)