The work of Helga Paris (*1938) occupies an outstanding position in German photography. Alternating between single images and series, it presents a pictorial record of German history encompassing more than 30 years. With her both strict and affectionate eye, Paris reports on life in the state that was founded as the Workers' and Peasants' State in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War and existed east of the Cold War divide until 1989.
Paris is interested in the commonplace and sometimes banal moments of interaction and togetherness: postures, looks, gestures, movements, surface textures and rooms that testify as much to the circumstances, stories and experiences of people and things as to the way of dealing with these circumstances.
Thanks to her special talent for photographing neglected streets and decaying houses with the same compassionate and affectionate rigour as pub customers and playing children, Paris endows people and objects with a special dignity.
In producing this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, ifa is resorting to the show at the Sprengel Museum Hannover in 2004 and the monograph published on the occasion.
born in Gollnow (Pomerania)
studied at the Fachschule für Bekleidung, Berlin
Lecturer in costume design history; worked as commercial artist and photographic lab associate
self-educational photographic activity
member of the Association of Visual Artists (Verband Bildender Künstler) of former German Democratic Republic
member of the Berlin Academy of Arts
- lives in Berlin
- Artists' Database
Extract from the exhibition catalogue
ifa | Helga Paris has built up body of work rooted in her own biography that has become increasingly concentrated over the years and invested with a huge communicative potential. Her pictures have an additional psychological quality that permits identification in a unique way. This quality derives from Paris’s respect for and appreciation of her subjects, which her pictures in turn are capable of expressing. By Inka Schube