The Arc of Life. Works by Sibylle Boden-Gerstner
Sibylle Gerstner, born in Breslau, the daughter of furrier Boden, was hounded by the Nazi regime because of her status as a so-called ‘Mixed Race Second Degree’. She left Germany, studied in Vienna and, from 1940, lived illegally in Paris. Together with her future husband Karl-Heinz Gerstner, she had contact with the Résistance there. After the war she resumed her painting.
In 1956 Sibylle Boden-Gerstner conceived the idea for the first sophisticated art and fashion magazine in the GDR, ‘Sibylle’. She worked as Art Director and Deputy Editor-in-Chief at this much sought-after fashion magazine. Accused of allowing the magazine to become ‘too French’ under her leadership, she was later forced out. From 1959 she worked as translator and freelance costume designer for the GDR film company, DEFA. In the ‘60s and ‘70s she created the costumes for such TV-films as ‘Wolf unter Wölfen’ [Wolf among Wolves], ‘Die Brüder Lautensack’ [The Brothers Lautensack] or ‘Abschied vom Frieden’ [Farewell to Peace].
In 1981, writing under the pseudonym Sibylle Muthesius, she created a sensation with the publication of ‘Flucht in die Wolken’ [Escape into the Clouds]. In the manner of a Greek tragedy, in her book she reconstructs the life of her mentally-ill daughter, with reference to her daughter’s paintings and diaries, up to the point of her suicide. This breached a taboo in the GDR. The subject is also seen as an influence in her own painting.
From 1990, she once again contributed to exhibitions with, among others, a major solo exhibition at the Potsdam Film Museum in 1998. Today, the 95 year-old Sibylle Boden-Gerstner lives in Berlin and paints with a wide brush.
Our exhibition, which presents oil paintings, water colours and costume designs by Sibylle Boden-Gerstner, spans the arc of the different phases of her life and the many varied styles of this fascinating artist.
Opening: Thursday, 21st January 2016, from 6 to 9 pm
Acclamation: 6.30 pm, Given by distinguished German scholar, Prof. Frank Hörnigk
We are grateful to Sibylle-Boden-Gerstner for agreeing to join us for this evening.