The Dark Time

November, 30th 2018 - March, 17th 2019


Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop
Weg zum hohen Ufer 36, Ostseebad Ahrenshoop


Often there is talk that Ahrenshoop and the adjacent coastal landscape during the Nazi dictatorship would have offered protection and retreat for artists. That this could only be the case to a limited extent is shown by the historical facts. On Hiddensee there was a prohibition on entry for Jewish people since 1935. With the construction of the Army Research Institute Peenemünde, the contemplative nature reserve of the island of Usedom was threatened in such a way that no attentive person could close his eyes. In Ahrenshoop, Nazi figures such as Hermann Görig used to go hunting in the Darßwald. From 1935 on the peninsula Pütnitz in the lake Ribnitzer a military airfield with attached Seefliegerschule arose. The construction of the Barther "air base" began in 1935. At the Barth concentration camp, prisoners were forced to die in forced labor for the Heinkel aircraft factory.
How did artists who stayed at the Baltic Sea at that time deal with the atmosphere that emerged from the omnipresent threat? What did it mean for her to assert herself artistically and humanely in the "internal emigration", especially when the war lost a large part of her life's work? Some artists working on Fischland and Darß in the Nazi era had already settled there before: Fritz Koch-Gotha and Dora Koch-Stetter, Hans Brass, the former Bauhaus master Gerhard Marcks and his painter friend Alfred Partikel. Both were denounced in the Nazi state with Expressionist works from the 1920s. Its harmonious human and landscape image of later years scarcely offered any further attack surfaces, but its possibilities of action remained limited.


So it was also the Rostocker Kate Diehn-Bitt. In addition to the exhibition, a painting and color ban was imposed on the "Jewish-swiss" artist of Neue Sachlichkeit, who failed to ask for admission to the "Reichskammer der bildenden Künste". As known from Carl Lohse and other of her peers, her work came largely to a standstill from 1938 and only experienced a new beginning after the end of the Second World War. For artists such as Carl Lohse, Werner Gilles, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Louise Rösler or Juro Kubicek, all of whom were still young "Malgäste" on the Baltic Sea in the 1930s, the ostracized spirit of modernity proved to be a humane refuge. They consistently insisted on this heritage. Her artistic work continues to revolve around landscape and figure. It was about strong sensory and spiritual experiences, projections of a true way of life, in contrast to the unacceptable social and political reality. It can be silent images that contain this counterworld or colorfully moved. The most convincing solutions are beyond the academic consensus.

Site Plan Ahrenshoop