Claas Gutsche, born in East Germany seven years before the Berlin Wall fell, makes two kinds of work—bronze sculptures and meticulous linocuts—of two kinds of subjects: the bits of nature that city dwellers encounter (trees, birds’ nests, broken branches, spider webs) and urban vistas in the former German Democratic Republic.
His monumental and disquieting black-and-white linocuts distill these subjects into sharp shadows and shimmering light. Visually arresting, they convey a steady thrum of dread—carefully designed places without people, beautifully articulated trees without leaves, a “utopia” where it is always winter. As Christoph Tannert has written:
The dreams of superiority of the socialist citizen were shattered as the years went by, just like all other economic plans, causing an emotional fog to descend over the country, which Claas Gutsche has artistically and effectively portrayed with documentary sharpness.1
- Christoph Tannert, “There Is No Absolute Truth,” in Claas Gutsche: Changing Truth, (Berlin: Claas Gutsche, 2014), n.p.