Cornelia Schleime

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Cornelia Schleime



Cornelia Schleime is painter, film-maker, performance artist and author. After her first formation as a hairdresser and make up artist, she studied Painting and Graphic Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. In 1979, she founded the punk band Zwitschermaschine, in which she performed as a vocalist.

Due to the strong political repression of the communist regime, stipulated by the GDR´s Artist´ Association officials, it was impossible for her to continue painting and found in performance art and punk music a stronger tool to express intimate feelings and research on her identity.  

Like many other artists she desired to leave the GDR, but that was very difficult and took many years and energies. Finally in September 1984 she obtained the traveller visa and moved to West Berlin.

An example of her video performance is the series “Unter weißen Tüchern‘ (1982-84) which intended to form a surreal, individual counterweight to the narrow definition of artistic images decreed by the state: A woman is tied to a door, which constantly opens and closes. Her body is completely tied up and the eyes are the only parts of her body she is able to move. This is an allegorical image for the way in which the artist (and her comrades in arms) were locked up inside the GDR.

Interviewed by Irene Pascual and Johnny Amore in Brandenburg

Audio interview