Life behind the Berlin Wall: the art and design of East Germany

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It’s 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

While we can be thankful we didn’t have to grow up with the STASI monitoring every visit we made to the chippy, there’s no doubt that the graphic design of East Germany (GDR) did produce some striking images. 

From magazine advertising to product packaging, East German design not only reflected its era but also the ideals of the ruling Communist Party. Hence the bewitching mix of hippie girls in paisley flares against snaps of Russian spacemen smiling benevolently from the heavens. 

The best of these works have been collated at the Wende Museum in Los Angeles, a treasure trove of posters, products and art from East Germany. This collection has in turn been documented by Taschen in a beautiful new book, Beyond The Wall: Art and Artefacts From The GDR. You can imagine how brilliant it is. 

So, while most of us can agree that the demolition of the ‘Anti Fascist Protection Rampart’ was a good thing, it’s nice to see that life behind the wall wasn’t all snooping on your neighbours and going on holiday to Poland. There were trendy sunglasses, too. 

Beat that, capitalism.

www.taschen.com 








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