Born in East Germany in 1949, Ulrich Wust trained as an urban planner and began making photographs of GDR cities in the 1970s. Documenting the expansion of prefabricated housing and its dehumanizing effects, Wust found that, through the camera, he had a means by which to interrogate socialist city planning, which had largely failed to meet the challenges of post-war construction. His most important work, Stadtbilder ('City Views', 1979-87), was an uncompromising critique of the public realm and the realities of city-building in the GDR.During the 1980s Wust's interests broadened to include the private sphere of the collective society around him. He acquired a pocket camera, which made it easier to photograph candidly at parties and nightclubs, in apartments and through shop windows. Probing the private retreat from an oppressive totalitarian regime, his unburnished, grainy snapshots of everyday life in East Berlin testified to the uncertainties in the decade leading to reunification. The authorities banned Wust's work just once, a series called Die Pracht der Macht ('The Pomp of Power', 1984-90), which documented monumental architecture.The artist photographed primarily for himself, and to archive his prolific collection of images, he favoured an accordion-style journal known as a leporello. He relied almost exclusively on 35mm black-and-white film, having access to reliable colour materials much later in his career. After the collapse of the GDR in 1990, Wust's photography reached an international audience for the first time, and came to be recognized as one of the strongest aesthetic statements made in a socialist state. The alteration of Berlin after reunification became one of his most enduring subjects.This is the first monograph devoted to Wust, and the first book of any kind in English to feature his work. Gary van Zante's lead essay chronicles Wust's artistic evolution. The main section of the book features close to 200 images dating from the late 1970s to 2012, including leporellos, with brief introductions to each series of photographs. The book concludes with an in-depth interview with the artist and a comprehensive list of exhibitions and bibliography.
Publisher: Merrell Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 290 x 250 mm
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