Manfred Paul – Disco-Porträts/Operncafé Berlin (1984-1986)


September 27 – Dezember 21, 2018

Opening: September 26, 2018 | 7–9pm

In the mid-1980s, the artist Wolfgang Krause often drew in the Operncafé on Unter den Linden, which was, at the time, part of East Berlin. While there, his friend photographer Manfred Paul came to visit him and became interested in the café’s young patrons. During this period, the Operncafé was a meeting point for dissidents, some of whom would later emigrate to the West. They used their clothing and appearances – sweatshirts from American companies, frilly blouses with bow ties, and eyes accented with black eyeliner – to not only break with prevailing fashion standards, but to also express their individuality and nonconformism.

Through his time spent drawing in the Operncafé, Krause won over the trust of the young patrons and convinced them to let Paul take their photographs. He organized for them to have their portraits taken in the photographer’s studio on Oderberger Straße 4 in Prenzlauer Berg. There Paul documented them – wearing the same clothing as they did in the café – with his 6 x 6 camera over the course of two years. The outcome is a series of approximately 45 photographs that capture this important group of young people in East Berlin in the 1980s.