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The Berlinische Galerie opens retrospective of the work of Cornelia Schleime
Cornelia Schleime, Blind Date, 2007, Privatbesitz, © Cornelia Schleime, Repro: Bernd Borchardt.

BERLIN.- The Berlinische Galerie worked closely with Cornelia Schleime, born in East Berlin in 1953, on a retrospective entitled “A Blink of an Eye”. It offers insights into the artist’s work from the 1980s until today. There are early pieces from her years in East Germany − photographs of her body actions, super-8 films − as well as paintings, including her latest works, drawings, photographic works and travel journals from different creative periods.

Cornelia Schleime studied printmaking and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts (HfBK) in Dresden from 1975 to 1980. As a student, she belonged to a milieu of young artists who formed a counter-movement to official GDR art doctrine. These artists pursued new paths and devised alternative formats for presentation in studios and private homes. In the early 1980s, Cornelia Schleime was drawing, painting, writing poetry, exploring her own form of action art and co-founding a punk band. From 1981, her broad definition of art resulted in exhibition bans, so she began experimenting with super-8 film. After several failed applications to leave for the West, the artist eventually moved from East to West Berlin in 1984. Almost her entire œuvre up until that date remained in the GDR and has disappeared.

Once she had arrived in West Berlin, Cornelia Schleime began all over again. Now she ranks as one of the best-known women artists of her generation. Since the mid-1990s, her painting and drawing have focused primarily on figures and portraits, and this is work she has continued to develop. Despite a realist technique and portrait-like impression, it is immediately evident that most of her paintings are pictures within pictures. In these works, Cornelia Schleime boldly seeks an affinity with Western consumer culture. Sources of inspiration for her art are glossy magazines, cinematic stills, reproductions of all kinds, but also personal photographs and snapshots found at flea markets. Through the intuitive act of painting, she turns her subjects into something of her own, projecting them into new roles, adding a layer of fantasy and irony.

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