Werner Tübke

23.09. - 22.10.2016

Werner Tübke is said to have begun drawing as a five-year-old, and at the age of 25 he published a book on the subject. The technique of drawing characterizes his entire oeuvre. The significant importance can also be proven by figures: there are about 6000 works on paper compared to not even 400 paintings. And accordingly, the majority of the works exhibited in the premises of Döbele Kunst Mannheim were created with watercolor, graphite or pen. Tübke understood drawing not only as a means of experimentation and for study purposes, but as a medium in its own right. One of his students, Günter Meißner, even describes drawing as a mirror of Tübke's nature. The discussion about the significance of the genres in art between painting and drawing sparked off in the era of the Renaissance. And so it seems not surprising that Tübke was always in dialogue with the artists of that time and oriented himself, among others, to Michelangelo and Dürer. Although he turned to the models of the great masters of former days and used one of the oldest media, namely drawing, Tübke succeeded in translating current social themes. Outstanding technical skill and dexterity is common to the painters of the Leipzig School, of which Tübke is considered a co-founder along with Wolfgang Mattheuer and Bernhard Heisig, among others. Within the school, Tübke is characterized by an austere, objective view of reality. He combines everyday imagery with metamorphic, mythological and Christian elements. The theme of suffering is always present in his work. Perhaps it was influenced by his personal experience of the mistaken arrest of the 16-year-old Tübke by the Russian secret service. In the cycle "History of the Workers' Movement", for example, he transposes the violence of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 into depictions of passion. Those on the edge of society are often not clearly definable, neither role nor gender are tangible. Androgynous beings join jesters, actors, and masked people. Here Tübke's view of the world as a stage comes to the fore. One of his best-known works also takes up the stage character, the monumental painting "Early Civil Revolution in Germany" (14 x 123 m) in the Thuringian town of Bad Frankenhausen. By contractually defining his artistic freedom, he was ultimately able to use his art to challenge the ideology of his state clients.

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