Helga Paris, Photographer

8 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin

Exhibition opening: 7 November, 7 pm
with Jeanine Meerapfel (President of the Akademie der Künste), Dr Klaus Lederer (Berlin Senator for Culture and Europe), Dr Ellen Strittmatter (ifa, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Inka Schube (curator)

From 8 November 2019 to 12 January 2020, at its exhibition halls at Pariser Platz, the Akademie der Künste will present the photographic work of Helga Paris from 1968 to 2011. With 275 works, including many individual images and series that are to be shown for the first time, this will be her most comprehensive exhibition to date and the first retrospective of the artist in her home city of Berlin in 25 years. Among others, excerpts from the extensive Leipzig, Hauptbahnhof (1978), Moscow (1991/92) and Mein Alex (2011) series will be seen for the first time.

Helga Paris was born in 1938 in the Polish town of Gollnow (today Goleniów) and grew up in Zossen near Berlin. She began her work as a self-taught photographer in the 1960s. She became one of the key chroniclers of life in East Berlin with images of her neighbourhood in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, pictures of pub-goers, sanitation workers, the women from the VEB Treffmodelle clothing factory, artists, punks, children from Hellersdorf and passers-by from Alexanderplatz.

Helga Paris also took photographs in Transylvania (1980), Georgia (1982) and in the city of Halle (1983–1985), where she produced her Diva in Grau series that was not allowed to be shown until 1989/90, as well as in Volgograd (1990), New York (1995) and Poland (1996/97), among others.

An exhibition of the Akademie der Künste in cooperation with the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), supported by DEFA Stiftung. Our thanks also go to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Stiftung, which provided the access to the archive material of Helga Paris and to reprint three previously unpublished series.