How Painter K.H. Hödicke Became an Accidental Historian

His new Berlin show coincides with the release of a book.

Installation view K.H. Hödicke Berlin Pots. Pl. at Grisebach, Berlin. Photo: Grisebach, Berlin.

On December 12 the Berlin-based auction house Grisebach inaugurated a large exhibition space in the city’s upmarket Charlottenburg district with a solo exhibition dedicated to the German artist Karl Horst Hödicke.

The long-overdue solo exhibition focusing on his work between the years of 1985 and 1995 coincided with the official release of a new book Berlin Potsd. Pl.which documents the painter’s extensive works inspired by his adopted city of Berlin.

Karl Horst Hödicke Potsdamer Platz (1990) Photo: artnet

Karl Horst Hödicke Potsdamer Platz (1990)
Photo: artnet

Almost by accident Hödicke became a documenter of the historic changes the German capital underwent during the cold war because his studio faced what is now Potsdamer Platz, which was the fulcrum of East and West Berlin and the contact point between the world powers of the US and the USSR.

With cheap studio space available in the undesirable neighborhood in the shadow of the Berlin wall and its surrounding wasteland, the artist painted the historic scenes that were unfolding outside of his studio window from the western side of the border.

Karl Horst Hödicke Brandenburger Tor (1990) Photo: artnet

Karl Horst Hödicke Brandenburger Tor (1990)
Photo: artnet

Consequently he found himself documenting what turned out to be an enormously significant period in world history and geopolitics and an emotionally charged topic for Germans and especially Berliners.

At the opening of the exhibition guests crowded to Grisebach’s newly opened showroom to see the artworks and to listen to a panel discussion between Hödicke and Grisebach’s contemporary art expert Michael Neff, who filled in for Monopol Magazin editor-in-chief Holger Liebs.

Guests were also able to purchase the book, published by Kerber Verlag, along with a limited-edition print.

Karl Horst Hödicke o du mein Branden (1987) Photo: artnet

Karl Horst Hödicke o du mein Branden (1987)
Photo: artnet

In 1977, Hödicke participated in documenta 6 and has enjoyed retrospectives of his work at Berlin’s Haus am Waldsee in 1981, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf in 1986, and at Berlinische Galerie in 2013, to name just a few.

He has also shown extensively in the US with Annina Nosei and Marisa del Rey in New York and with Peter Gould in Los Angeles.

“K.H. Hödicke. Berlin Scenes” runs from December 12, 2015–February 20, 2016 at Grisebach, Berlin.

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