Galerie grounded



Klaus Haehner-Springmuehl

In the early 1980s, Klaus Haehner-Springmuehl became the highly acclaimed star of the true nonconformist Art scene of East Germany. His overpainted photographs, as well as his performances, were seen as unmistakable artistic announcements against the saturated world of art and society of the former GDR. He did not close his mind to the marketing and sale of East German art, but maintained a largely independent position within the production process, and he rejected at the same time the purchase of his works by government agencies. To this day the actions and performances are still shrouded in legend, and which almost always unavoidably resulted in scandals, because they constituted a drastic alternative concept to the official ideas of what art was.

Haehner-Springmuehl found, at an early stage of his career, prominent supporters, such as Klaus Werner, who recognised the carefully thought-out and sensitive structures of his excessive, multi-dimensional art; but he never stayed in the slipstream of his promoters. Haehner-Springmuehl, who was born in Zwickau, was one of the few GDR artists who already in the early 1980s were known by experts in the United States through only a small part of his work. Among them was Leo Castelli, who represented Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Stella and Warhol. Even the book written together with Heiner Mueller in the mid 1980s can only be understood with the knowledge of the background of a separate position in the scene.

The significant consequences of the political change for the art of the former East Germany and for the whole of the German cultural scene were probably not grasped in their entirety by him, and likewise by most of the other "market participants". Consequently, a plan to change the Gallery EIGEN+ART in Leipzig, which was much sought-after by Gerd Harry Lybke at the time when the Wall came down, fell through because of his ideas of artistic and programmatic independence in life. His image in the public sphere of art became increasingly more out of line. The now dominating exhibition organisers, who often felt obliged to the theorised Conceptual Art, and who were also strongly oriented towards the programmes of the more recently founded galleries, failed to appreciate or even ignored his work, which after 1989, however, was not so socially explosive.

In the 1990s, during a difficult time, he almost completely withdrew from the cultural scene, and his extroverted side made way for an introverted manner. The fact that with his free and wide opinions of art, in the decaying state of the GDR, he had set new standards, remains uncontradicted. He has influenced and made it possible for a new generation of young artists "of differing viewpoints" to develop in the region of Saxony. Despite his comparatively low presence, between 1992 and 2005, it proves itself today that his art was everything else but historic or forgotten.

Meanwhile, Haehner-Springmuehl's work is again finding more and more attention, as is proved, for example, by his considerable participation in the exhibition "Art in the GDR", in Berlin's New National Gallery and Bonn's Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 2006 Klaus Haehner-Springmuehl died in Leipzig aftermath a cardiovascular incident.

Klaus Haehner-Springmuehl  Leipzig 1997 (Foto: Kreissig)


"Under the cross (iron)"
103x73 cm
Mixed media
Price on request
103x73 cm
Mixed media
Private collection
103x73 cm
Mixed media
Private collection

* 01/19/50, Zwickau

1964 bricklayer training and high school diploma, amateur boxer (cruiser weight)
1969-1972 Study building industry, Cottbus (discontinued.); first künstlerische Gemeinschaftsarbeiten with Michael Freudenberg
1972 removal to Karl-Marx-Stadt
1972-1983 collective working methods (with A. R. Penck or Michael Freudenberg, Studio Helgolandstrasse, Dresden) and Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch
Since 1976 improvisation music in changed casts (Kartoffelschälmaschine, with Gitte Haehner-Springmühl, Frank Rassbach, Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch)
1982 free-lance artist

1992 residence in Japan
Since 1993 residence in Leipzig
2006 died in Leipzig


Exhibitions (selection)
1980 Clara Mosch Galerie, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Drawing, Pecs (p)
1982 Frühstück im Freien, Leonhardi-Museum, Dresden (p)
1983 Gallery Klub der Intelligenz Pablo Neruda, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1983 The Landscape, Pecs (p)
1984 Künstler fotografieren Künstler, Galerie Mitte, Dresden (p)
1984 Retrospektive 1945-1984, Museum am Theaterplatz, Karl-Marx-Stadt (p)
1985 intermedia, Coswig (B)
1986 Gemeinschaftsarbeiten, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig (p)
1983 The Nature, Pecs (p)
1986 Galerie Oben, Karl-Marx-Stadt (K)
1987 Galerie Theaterpassage, Leipzig
1988 Baugrube II, Arbeitsraum, Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig
1988 Galerie Weißer Elephant, Berlin
1988 Fotografie in der Kunst der DDR, Halle (p)
1989 Der eigene Blick, Berliner Kritiker zeigen Kunst ihrer Wahl, Ephraim-Palais, Berlin (p)
1989 Stand der Dinge, Galerie Junge Kunst, Frankfurt/O. (p)
1989 Fotografie in Aktion, Haus der jungen Talente, Berlin (p)
1989 40 unter 40, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett (p)
1990 40 unter 40, Leverkusen/Schloss Morsbroich, Hamburg/Kunsthalle (p)
1990 Neuerdings Chemnitz, Galerie auf der Praterinsel, München (p)
1990 Die Kerbe im Boot, Galerie Nikolaus Sonne, Berlin (p)
1991 Konservenfabrik Feinkost, Leipzig (p)
1991 Galerie 88, Hanau
1991 Fotoforum, Bremen (catalog)
1992 Schnittpunkt Koeln, Galerie Barthel und Tetzner, Köln (p)
1993 Das letzte Jahrzehnt, Ostdeutsche Photographie der achtziger Jahre, Fotomuseum, Frankfurt/M. (p)
1994 Galerie Gunar Barthel, Berlin
1994 Junge Kuenstler aus der ehemaligen DDR, Focus-Passage/Burda, München (p)
1995/1996 Sport und Kunst/Boxen, Essen/Köln (p)
1996 Pferdestall, Goepfersdorf
1997 Der Ausflug (Im Namen der Jungfrau), Galerie ARTCO, Leipzig (catalog)
1997 Voxxx, Galerie, Chemnitz
1997 boheme und diktatur in der ddr, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin (p)
1999 3 Tage und 3 Naechte, Kunstverein Herzattacke, Berlin
2002 Nach 25 Jahren, Meisterwerke der Graphischen Sammlung, Kunstmuseum Cottbus (p)
2002 POSITIONEN, Galerie Oben, Chemnitz (p)
2003 Zügellos - Die andere Kunst der DDR, Galerie Barthel und Tetzner, Berlin (p)
2004 Kunst in der DDR, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (p)
2004 Galerie grounded, Chemnitz (p)
2005 Kunst in der DDR, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (p)
2005 Aletheia, Stadtmuseum Jena (p)
2005 POSITIONEN, Galerie Barthel und Tetzner, Berlin (p)
2005 Arbeiten 1985-1997, Galerie grounded, Chemnitz
2005 Künstlerplakate aus der DDR, Neues Museum Nürnberg (p)
2005 Neue Bilder, Galerie grounded, Chemnitz (p)
2006 Kapital, Chemnitz
2006 Blickwechsel, Galerie Barthel und Tetzner, Berlin (p)
2007 Galerie Heck-Art,
2007 Augenblick, verweile doch..., Galerie Alte Feuerwache, Dresden
2007 Überblicksausstellung ostdeutscher Kunst von den 1980ern bis heute, Galerie Weise, Chemnitz (p)
2007 DEUTSCHE GESCHICHTEN, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (p)
2009 England ist nicht die einzige Insel der Welt, D21, Leipzig (p)
2009 o. T., Galerie am Domhof, Zwickau

Performances (selection)
1979 "Luxus", Atelier Helgolandstraße, Dresden (with Michael Freudenberg, A. R. Penck)
1983 EA (Erste Aktion), Klub der Intelligenz Pablo Neruda, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Rassbach, Michael Morgner, Thomas Ranft)
1983 "Das gestrandete Tier", Studentenclub Fuchsbau, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Gitte Haehner-S
pringmuehl, Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch, Frank Bretschneider)
1984 "Heilsarmee", Evangelische Studentengemeinde Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Bretschneider, Frank Rassbach)
1985 "Der Dreck muß weg", intermedia, Coswig (with Frank Rassbach)
1985 "Wir sind uns alle einig", Pauli-Kreuz-Kirche, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Bretschneider, Frank Rassbach, Axel Martini, Lüder Schlenstedt)
1987 "Wir sind gut vorbereitet", Galerie Oben, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Silke Dikomey, Frank Rassbach, Tobias Tetzner)
1987 "Das rote Brett", Galerie Theaterpassage, Leipzig (with Frank Rassbach)
1987 "Das Ende der Vernunft", Evangelische Studentengemeinde Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Rassbach, Hans-Jochen Vogel)
1987 "Soll und Haben", Kreiskulturhaus Treptow, Berlin (with Gitte Haehner-Springmuehl, Frank Rassbach)
1987 "So wie's im Buche steht", Galerie Hermannstraße, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Rassbach)
1987 "Eine Reise zum Mond", Kulturhaus Steinstraße, Leipzig (with Frank Raßbach)
1987 "Das Wasser zum Kochen bringen", Evangelische Studentengemeinde, Karl-Marx-Stadt (with Frank Rassbach)
1988 "Hypnose", Moritzbastei, Leipzig (with Annelie Harnisch, Frank Rassbach)
1988 "Gruenklee", Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig (with Frank Rassbach)
1988 "Kreis-Zeichen", Steinstraße, Leipzig (with Frank Rassbach)
1988 "Feierabend", Brühlsche Terrasse, Dresden (with Annelie Harnisch, Frank Rassbach)
1989 "Kontrast", Galerie Nord, Leipzig (with Frank Rassbach)
1989 "Turmbau zu Babel", Galerie Elephanten-Press, Westberlin (with Frank Rassbach)
1991 "Juli 1991", Fotoforum Boettcherstraße, Bremen (with Andreas Hartzsch, Frank Rassbach, Wolfgang Stemmer)
1991 "Brandstelle", Kulturzentrum Hauptfeuerwache Mannheim (with Gitte Haehner-Springmuehl, Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch, Frank Rassbach)
1991 "Feuerwerk", Ost-West-Konferenz, Breslau (with Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch, Frank Rassbach)
1992 "Musik-Aktion", Galerie Oben, Chemnitz
1992 "Duo", Galerie Barthel + Tetzner, Köln (with Erich-Wolfgang Hartzsch)
1996 "Kommerz-Tanz", Galerie Oben, Chemnitz
1997 "Im Namen der Jungfrau", Galerie ARTCO, Leipzig

Original editions/books/catalogs/books/magazines (selection)
Kommentar, Text by Heiner Mueller, Edition Sascha Anderson, Berlin 1985.
A DREI 2/86/9, Karl-Marx-Stadt 1986.
second hand, text by Joerg Waehner, Berlin/Karl-Marx-Stadt 1986.
Masse, catalog, text by Gunar Barthel, Karl-Marx-Stadt 1987.
Klaus Haehner-Springmuehl, Galerie Weisser Elefant; included a text by Klaus Werner ("Die Ordnung der Ungleichmuskler oder der kostbare Stillstand"), Berlin (Ost) 1987.
A DREI 2/87/12, Karl-Marx-Stadt 1987.
Karl-Marx-Staedter Graphikkalender, Edition Sued, 1988 (p).
Dressen, Wolfgang/Gillen, Eckhart/Radlach, Siegfried, Niemandsland - Angehaltene Zeit. Fotografie aus der DDR, Berlin 1988 (K/p)
Fuenf Kuenstler aus Karl-Marx-Stadt in Duesseldorf, Katalog, Karl-Marx-Stadt/Duesseldorf 1990 (p).
Klaus Haehner-Springmühl, Juli 1991, catalog, Bremen 1991.
Blickwechsel, 13 Künstler aus Sachsen, catalog, Köln/Berlin 1991 (p).
Klaus Hähner-Springmühl, Katalog, text by Barbara Köhler, Köln/Berlin 1992.
Neue Bildende Kunst, Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kritik, text by Barbara Koehler, Berlin 1992.
Amerika ist ein U-Boot im Goldfischteich; Text by Joerg Waehner and an interview with Heiner Mueller, Berlin 1992.
Kuehn, K.-G., Caught, The Art of Photography in the German Democratic Republic, The University of California Press, Berkeley 1997 (L).
Christoph Tannert, Klaus Hähner-Springmühl, in: Herzattacke, Kunst- und Literaturzeitschrift, IV/1999.
Klopfzeichen, Kunst und Kultur der 80er Jahre in Deutschland, Leipzig 2002 (L).
Heidi Stecker/Barbara Steiner (Hg.), Sammeln, Katalog, Galerie für Zeitgenoessische Kunst, Leipzig (B)


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