In the works of the 1960s, Joachim Gutsche (1926-2012) juggles between abstraction and figuration. The claustrophobically dense, explosively colorful pictorial spaces, eyes torn apart, bodies torn to shreds, pick up on the artist’s personal strokes of fate, especially his imprisonment in a GDR labor camp from 1954 to 1956. The unifying, indeed “protective” element in the years that followed remained painting for him. Thus he writes in 1974: “(…) Conscious of material – or preferring to be absorbed in the material while still alive? To be one with it? To submerge in it? Or perhaps only as a protective wall with it against the individual desires or attacks of others?”
His multi-faceted paintings can without question be situated in the artistic developments of the 1960s and 70s – in the turn towards the abstract-gestural and the childlike-figurative elements, especially with the groups SPUR and CoBrA.