Jérôme Bazin has just completed his doctoral thesis on painting and the graphic arts in the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990, which has been greeted as a quite new and quite complete study of a situation that remains problematic today. While, in present-day Germany, works produced in the past create a sense of discomfort, provoke a loss of interest, or induce nostalgia, they remain little known to us outside of Germany.
Jérôme Bazin begins to respond here to these questions, his answers being based on the consultation of several different types of archives but also and especially on the works themselves.
What is one to say about an “art without qualities” in this country where the production of images by professionals (the Union of artists) as well as by amateurs was encouraged? What was the place of equality in a world where the very status of the artist comes under the heading of a caste privilege? Are there no bridges between East and West, be it only through the existence of an art market governed by some surprising rules?