Shortly before the Berlin Wall came down, Anke Feuchtenberger, Henning Wagenbreth, Holger Fickelscherer and Detlef Beck joined together to form a ‘Produktions-
genossenschaft des Handwerks’ (production cooperative for handicrafts, PGH for short), called ‘Glühende Zukunft’, or ‘Glowing Future’. Their artistic activities in public spaces, such as graffiti and wall paintings, were motivated by creative actionism and were an expression of their political opposition. After the collapse of the Communist system, the individual artists in the East Berlin artists’ collective were very much in demand, particularly for their theatre posters, but also amongst book publishers and the print media for their illustrations. At the same time they were using their comic-like work to experiment with the visual forms of expression within the two different cultures and combining the aesthetics of East-European graphics and illustration with the Western narrative tradition of the comic. The PGH, along with the Renate Group, is one of the core groups of the German comic avant-garde, because the artists combine comic and art, illustration and picture-narrative without any inhibition, showing their work both at comic festivals and in galleries.
In the first comics published by Anke Feuchtenberger, her drawings are dominated by angular contours, portraying characters and objects in hard lines. Their design is reminiscent of woodcut and linocut prints. The colouring is modest and restrained, with the individual areas being accentuated instead by opulent or minimal ornamentation.
Feuchtenberger’s current works, however, appear more free and less hard, because she now draws with charcoal. On the coarse-grained paper, the lines become blurred, blending with the fine powder of the grey shades in the shadows and outlines. The trained commercial artist unites words and images to form a graphically united texture, with only an indirect connection to the narrative level.
Anke Feuchtenberger usually works with the author Katrin de Vries. Together they develop stories and bring the images and the words into line with each other, as in Die kleine Dame (1997), Die Hure H (1996) and Die Hure H zieht ihre Bahnen (2003). Their enigmatic portrayals have a somnambulistic character, which is reflected in both the surreal motifs and in the cryptic combinations of words. Observers must fill in the space between image and text for themselves, in order to be able to unite the individual fragments.
Sexuality and physicality are the central themes that Anke Feuchtenberger confronts in her comics. In Das Haus (2001), she divides the human body into thirty parts. In five to six pictures for each part, she reduces and condenses individual terms with the aid of metaphors and symbols. Instead of telling a story, Feuchtenberger creates visual and textual chains of associations, which initially appear to be separate from each other, but which achieve a profound or ambiguous expressive power when combined.
is a cultural researcher and freelance cultural journalist.
He also designs film programmes and exhibitions on the theme of comics