Geniale Dilletanten: Subculture in Germany in the 1980s
13 Nov 2015 -
25 Feb 2016
Curator: Mathilde Weh
Geniale Dilletanten (Brilliant Dilletantes), the deliberately misspelled title of the concert held in Berlin’s Tempodrom in 1981, has become a synonym for a brief era of artistic upheaval in Germany.
The exhibition Geniale Dilletanten (Brilliant Dilletantes) presents the most comprehensive survey of 1980s German subculture to date, incorporating an interview film produced especially for the exhibition, a rich array of video and photographic material, audio samples, magazines, posters and other artefacts documenting the scene and providing insight into simultaneous developments in art, film, fashion and design.
The intense cultural activity of this period developed particularly in and around art schools and was marked by cross-genre experimentation and the use of new electronic equipment by performance artists and music groups.
The emergence of new record labels, magazines, galleries and clubs, as well as the plethora of independently produced records, tapes and concerts, illustrate the growth of self-organisation and the do-it-yourself spirit of the period.
By adopting German rather than English as the language for song lyrics and band names, the protagonists of Germany’s alternative artistic scene set themselves apart from the mainstream, giving credence to the movement’s claim to be representing a radical new departure.
To illustrate the extraordinary innovative spectrum of this subculture this international touring exhibition presents the work of seven bands: Einstürzende Neubauten; Die Tödliche Doris; Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle (F.S.K); Mode & Verzweiflung; Palais Schaumburg; Ornament und Verbrechen; and Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.), in addition to various artists, filmmakers and designers from West and East Germany.
RMIT Gallery presents a flavour of what was happening in Melbourne from 1979 – 1989 through an exploration of Australian subculture including the Little Band scene, the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre and a group of young people who were part of the friendship circle of photographer Peter Milne.
At this time these artists and musicians were all ‘ingenious amateurs’, many would go on to have world class creative careers nationally and internationally. Some such as Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Bronwyn Adams and Peter Milne would forge deep and personal relationships with the city of Berlin.
Geniale Dilletanten is a Goethe-Institut international touring exhibition, curated by Mathilde Weh, deputy director of the department of visual arts at the Goethe-Institut, in collaboration with Aline Fieker.