The GDR regarded its friendship with the GDR as an untouchable political principle. From 1949 onwards, filling that premise with life was the task of the “Society for German-Soviet Friendship”. The organisation therefore carried out a wide range of cultural work to that aim, including the commissioning and collection of visual art on the relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union.Art needed to help overcome deep-rooted anti-Russian sentiments that had previously been whipped up by National Socialist propaganda.
The works selected here were all produced in the 1980s. They refuse to adopt an idealised understanding of “friendship”. Thomas Zieglers portraits of soldiers present characters without exaggerated attitudes. His largest panel painting expresses an interpersonal dimension of German-Soviet friendship and a new perception of untouched Siberian expanses as a place of yearning. Michael Zschocher assumes a very different tone. In times of Gorbachev’s Perestroika, he addresses the theme of historical violation and delusion.