Saturday, February 4, 2012

Robert Rehfeldt, Fliesenwerke Galerie, Boizenburg, Germany (DDR), 1985

An accordion brochure for an exhibition of the former-DDR, Berlin-based artist, Robert Rehfeldt (1931-1993). Operating outside of East Germany's official culture, Rehfeldt developed alternative means and sites for realizing his idea of 'contart,' a word that he created that is a hybrid of 'contact' and 'art.' Contart, was his strategy to foster everybody's creativity which then would lead to " artistic forms and non-established means of communication. It gives help to the formation of creative groups and other initiatives in the field of art." (Rehfeldt, 1978). Sadly, the process of reunification was a difficult time for Rehfeldt and his wife, they lost their studio to a dentist and were forced into a nomadic existence.  One friend wrote, "Quite some networkers blame your untimely death on the social harshness that you had to experience after the end of socialist Germany. They claim, not without reason, that it literally broke your heart." (Netmail, 1994)

What will live on is Rehfeldt's works and actions all of which propagate his desire for the future in which "the creative contact replaces the severe idea of competition among artists by a friendly one...[so that it] can be the basis of a big collective of art workers for the realisation of human aims and ideals." (Rehfeldt, 1978) Cordelia Marten in a 2007 presentation situates Rehfeldt within the larger cultural politics of the period in her article: Conceptual Art in East Germany - Robert Rehfeldt and his network of artists.pdf

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