The Time Is Right For Lusici!
Everybody has to have a number !
Welcome to Lusici !
A GOLDEN background, was his wish, so
we worked together for one month in 1998 to present this copyrighted
This Is LUSICI !
A former GDR painter, who made to the
West before .... !
Whoever has experienced former East
German artist Lusici "live" in his wonderful West Berlin
Studio, close to the night life centre of Kurfürstendamm
- will agree: art is alive and amongst us. Art is no artful thing
for some elite.
Lusici was born Dietrich Schade in former
the East German territory of Lausitz / Spreewald, in Ragow, to
be exact. He was born in the middle of the chaos of the WWII,
Long and extended walks in the nearby
Spreewald made him realise the richness of mother nature. This
made him sensitive and an observer of the colours of nature.
His curious nature taught him to mix colours and translate his
observations into paintings. (right: "Die Kahnfahrt"
- The canoe ride in Spreewald - 1956, oil on paper, 39 x 33 cm,
Later he learned how to provoke reactions,
even irritate by using colours. His natural experience were brought
to paper as portraits ("Baumportraits") or Girls from
the Lausitz ("Lausitzer Mädchen").
Left: "Girls From The Lausitz - sitting,
turned to the left", ("Lausitzer Mädchen: sitzend
nach Links"), 1962, pigments with glue and latex on paper,
49 x 37 cm
Already by 1957 the first self portrait
appears. It shows the artist in front of his easel. On it he
is about to finish one of his later famous and award winning
angels. From the back a strange figure puts his hand over his
shoulder: the personalised death. Part friend, part stranger.
This early work originated already at
the age of 15, in 1957 (water colour on paper, 29,5 x 21, in
private collection). It is an early sign for his resistance to
the public authorities of the GDR, and his feeling of being drawn
between his need to create harmony and instigation at the same
Lusici draws intensively in the experience
of life, the relationship between nature and the human being,
while he digs in the basic values of the human nature.
From 1961 the Berlin Wall leaves an
immense impact on all the work that follows. By then Lusici still
lives in the Lausitz. Aged 26 he moves to East-Berlin in 1968,
where he remains through all the troubled years until 1986.
He finishes the master class (MA) in
the famous Berlin Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste Berlin)
of East Berlin. There he "learned the basics of painting",
only, he says. The artist Dietrich Schade becomes Lusici. The
Italian flair of the chosen alias was a piece of rebellion in
the restricted post war years of East Germany. It is also the
historic translation of Lausitz.
Lusici wins the gold medal in the Unesco
competition of 1974 for his interpretation of a given theme:
"Water is Life!" (Wasser ist Leben). This was printed
as a poster (on the right); on the left side Lusici's original
"Wasser ist Leben", last version of a study.
Oil on paper, 47 x 26 cm, artist's archive
left: "Wasser ist Leben", 1974,
In all his paintings he had developed
a language of protest in order to surpass the East German authorities.
Lusici achieved what not many artists could: an unnoticed exit
from the system through art: "
helped me to survive the East German communist regime."
so called "Malerbuch: Ausgelebte Schriften",
1984; (übermaltes Marxismusbuch, ca. 800 Seiten ), Museum
f. Preussischer Kulturbesitz Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
He starts what
he so called "Painting Books" (Malbücher), under
the title "Dead texts" (Ausgelebte Schriften), which
in fact were intervened Marxism theory books, which he painted
over. (800 pages in 1984), in posession of the National Museum,
Preussischer Kulturbesitz Berlin (Kupferstichkabinet).
At the time Lusici keeps as well an
exact diary, in which he does many sketches. "If I were
not able to breath anymore, I started to paint over another Marxism
book!". As sign of protest he paints over almost anything
that carries symbols of the public East German authorities. Amongst
them are prohibition road signs and the GDR flag. This act of protest could have brought him in the
national high security prison but the piece of cotton slipped
between some pages of a book and was found after the reunification.
(see photo: "The big ego"/"Das grosse Ich",
1962, registered opus 62B17, in possesion of the artist).
Under communist rule Lusici lacked,
as everybody else in the GDR, the basic materials. But Lusici
always found ways to continue painting. He used wood, unused
posters from street advertising, or even just corners of posters
- whatever he could put his hand on.
Already at the age of 23, in 1965, he started using numbers which
appeared on the canvas like reflected in a mirror. The number
"4" acquires an important role on his life. The four
becomes more than just a number, it stands for separation, the
East-West conflict. "Mirrored numbers are erotic and aggressive";
he tells me. Lusici creates the phrase of "Anti-Numbers"
("Antizahlen"), describing paintings like train wagons
taking people into the ghetto.
The number "8" stands for
balance. It creates harmony, while numbers like "1",
"2" or "3" bring certain erotic balance.
The "5" is the king and therefore sometimes has a crown,
if seen "straight" in a particular painting.
The Lusici phrase "3+5=0 "is
significant on its own absurdity. Everybody needs a painting
with numbers in his house to remind him how numbers determine
our senses and feelings. "We have organised ourselves in
this way. We are counting us poor, because, if we carry on counting
in this way we always count to wrong results!" For Lusici
we all live in a dictatorship of numbers.
Lusici always observed many artists'
progress in the west. "They are trying always to find a
style first". Lusici tried to find himself first.
Lusici survived 25 years of East German
government and moved to the West in 1986. Friends supported him
in this move, which was accompanied by many difficulties due
to the East German police and border control. He managed to leave
amongst the first, leaving the country "in a very adventurous
way", this is all he wants to tell us about it.
(right), 1986, oil on wood , 76 x 63,5 cm, in Privatbesitz) is
his first ever Western oil painting.
With his family in the arm and little
hand luggage he arrives in the West-Berlin camp for immigrating
East Germans in Marienfelde. Here there was also danger waiting
for him. The promised west didn't look in reality as in American
TV series, which slipped through the GDR censor.
"Even capitalism has its limitations",
he says. "And Marx was surprisingly right, saying that a
day of work is a lost day in the life of the worker", he
continues and reflects on society: "any social system is
doomed to fail after it has grown to a state of perfection. Lies
are the beginning of censorship and restriction, the opposite
of freedom", quoting a Chinese proverb.
"This is - why the time is right"
for Lusici, he adds with a twinkle in his eyes. His art work
seems more than ever up-to-date. Lusici's art is still protesting,
proclaiming and speaking out.
("The Queen is sitting in the Opera
House, the King counts the money in the tresury" - "Die
Königin sitzt in der Oper - der König in der Schatzkammer
und zählt Geld", 1995, Acryl on canvas, 140 x 120cm)
Lusici describes his own art as "road
signs". His so called "million dollar baby", or
the piece he suggest to sell only for a million, is a portrait
of his favourite painter of all times, Vincent van Gogh. It was
made in 1987, when Gogh's "Schwerlilien" was sold at
an auction for one million dollars.
His protest carries double meaning: The front is a homage to
van Gogh, gold plated; while the flip side carries Lusici's hand
written note saying: "The idiotic price for a piece of art
This is a black day for the art, but a lucky day for van Gogh.
The idiotic price of 81 million dollar this painting was auctioned
for, spoils everything." And with sarcasm he adds: "Who
wants to buy this master piece of mine, should at least put a
million on the table
"Hommage on Vincent van Gogh (Schwertlilien)
- Der Irrenpreis", 1987
oil and bronze on canvas, 140x120cm (Details page 30)
- private exhibitions at his Spreewald
- Since 1992 permanent exhibition and
room decoration in the Kempinski Plaza Hotels Berlin.
- Deutsches Porzellan-Museum, Hohenberg-Egger
bei Selb/Oberfranken, Dezember 1997 bis März 1998
- Kunstforum im Klinikum Großhadern
(München) 10.12.1997 bis Ende März 1998
- Artwork by Lusici can be found in the
following collections: Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Staatliche
Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Bremen,
Kunsthalle, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlung, Kupferstich-Kabinett,
Ein Hod (Israel), Janco-Dada-Museum, München, Bayerische
Staaatsabibliothek, Handschriftenabteilung, Paris, Musée
des Arts Décoratifs, Stendal, Winckelmann Museum, Stuttgart,
Staatsgalerie, Warschau, Nationalmuseum, Artbust.