Active at the boundaries in many different senses, Leipzig artist Lutz Dammbeck works at the interstitial spaces between various different forms of art, having started out in visual art before going on to develop media collages and shooting animated, experimental and documentary films. Dammbeck equally crossed geographical borders: he previously lived and worked in East Germany, before eventually emigrating with his family to West Germany. “These experiences always make their presence felt in Dammbeck’s oeuvre”, says Sven Safarow, who curated the special programme OUTLINES OF POWER. SHOWCASE LUTZ DAMMBECK together with DOK Leipzig programmer Ralph Eue. “Dammbeck grapples with socio-political questions again and again: how free am I in my art and what consequences does my work carry within particular political systems?”
To this end, he largely examines the hidden power structures imposed on society over the last decades. Dammbeck addresses or even deconstructs the interplay between art and power – and always maintains a unique gaze in the process, a dual view of two different systems and their respective boundaries that could only be depicted by someone able to experience both sides. What are the similarities and differences in Dammbeck’s oeuvre: how has his work developed over the years? Curator Sven Safarow addresses this idea as follows: “Dammbeck combines on the one hand an unwillingness to please in a straightforward manner, an unwillingness to be opportunist, to conflict, to a lack of fear of contradiction or even a desire to provoke this contradiction in the first place; on the other, the desire to follow a thought process with a goal in mind, with all its unpredictable twists, turns and digressions”.
Across five parts, this special programme shows a representative cross section of the work of an artist who engages with his environment and the conditions in which we live. “His approach is akin to that of a detective”, says Safarow. “Dammbeck comes across clues and finds connections where there don’t seem to be any. He begins carrying out investigations and documents the process”. Dammbeck is frequently interested in the sort of questions that are not initially obvious, such as why American gameshows were introduced to Germany after the Second World War as explored in his documentary Overgames. In Master Game, he examines the motives behind the vandalism carried out on Arnulf Rainer’s pictures and asks whether it might be a political act carried out by a modern right-wing movement, while Das Netz. Unabomber, LSD & Internet gives an account of American Una-Bomber Ted Kaczynski and the problems of worldwide technologisation.