This exhibition brings together a group of photographers whose extraordinary contribution to European photography has quite literally been 'frozen out' by the cold war. Curated by Matthew Shaul the exhibition includes works by Arno Fischer, Sibylle Bergemann, Helga Paris, Evelyn Richter, Maria Sewcz, Erasmus Schroeter, Gundula Schulze Eldowy, Ulrich Wüst and Ursula Arnold.
Almost completely unknown in Britain , these artists developed their practice in the former East Germany , negotiating its omnipresent secret police to create imagery, increasingly compared to that of luminaries such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus and Paul Strand. Disparate in background and experience, their works use an unforgiving documentary aesthetic to convey both the harsh realities and remarkable richness of life behind the iron curtain.
Sticking closely to the mantra of 'realism' ' the state directed creed which defined what was artistically acceptable ' these photographers circumnavigated a rigid system of censorship to produce the most insightful and socially critical visual arts output in East Germany 's forty year history. The resulting images expose the often tawdry reality of the socialist experiment, and the humour, stoicism and resignation with which East Germany 's citizens dealt with their lives.