Thirty years after 1989, it is time to look at the peaceful Revolution in the GDR and the social upheaval in eastern Germany from the perspective of the visual arts. “Point of No Return” displays more than 300 works of all styles from 106 artists, on approximately 1,500 square metres. As the symbolic centre of the Peaceful Revolution, Leipzig is predestined for Germany’s first major exhibition on this theme, which can be regarded as the most significant exhibition in the 30th anniversary year of the Peaceful Revolution.
The exhibition covers both the time directly preceding the Peaceful Revolution and the period of transformation that followed 1989. The exhibition thereby illustrates the “cracks in the Wall” apparent in the 1980s and the reasons for these. It also addresses the unexpected fall of the Wall and the redefinition of artistic creativity in the social upheaval. This occurs not least due to the fact that key works display an artistically-reflexive reference to the Peaceful Revolution on the one hand as anticipation, assumption or action in advance of the revolutionary activities and on the other hand relevant positions only arise with distance and observation of the transformation in social interrelations.
In contrast to preceding projects, the exhibition is not limited to a specific sub-area of the east German art milieu, but overcomes separated perceptions by integrating numerous previously largely unknown works from various backgrounds. In this manner, the exhibition brings together as a whole the works of those who “stayed behind”, “rebels and reformers” as well as that of “dissidents” that had already departed the GDR prior to the fall of the Wall in 1989.
A further new aspect of the exhibition is the fact that is shows works of artists who were born in the GDR but do not share the direct experience of living under state socialism as was the case with their older colleagues. Interesting here is the fact that many young artists today consciously operate within a context of eastern German art production, addressing questions of origin, the celebration of self-will and mentality as well as hegemony and “colonialism”.