Roger Melis (1940-2009) ranks among the most significant documentarists of the former German Democratic Republic. With empathy and sensitivity, his black and white images convey the experiences of those who grew up and conducted their lives in a socialist political system. From the 1960s onwards, Melis travelled far and wide across the GDR – his subjects ranging from crowds celebrating the ‘Day of Liberation’ to funfair visitors, from a worker at a chemical plant to a fisherman on his boat; he portrayed writers and artists, labourers and factory managers, farmers, lumbermen, craftsmen and tradespeople, children and teens, officials and dissidents.
The author Christoph Hein once said that each image Melis created was a short story in itself. And indeed, every portrait reveals a narrative - conveying the sense of longing and resignation, as well as the courage, defiance and self-confidence of the East Germans, who lived not just as citizens, but as a community.
The exhibition, which was organised in collaboration with the Loock Gallery and the Roger Melis Archive, is open at the Reinbeckhallen in Berlin from 11 April to 28 July 2019.
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