08. – 18.12.2019
Turnen/Gymnastics: A
Vocabulary of
Revolutionary Gestures

A site-specific exhibition about dissident bodies in the former gymnastics hall of the Stasi by Elske Rosenfeld, with works by Gabriele Stötzer and Wolfgang Scholz in an installation by Andrea Pichl
8 December, 3 – 8 pm
(for details of the program scroll down)

At the opening we are also launching the book “wild recuperations. material from below”, scroll down for more information.

Gymnasium of the Stasi,
former Headquarters of the Stasi,
Campus für Demokratie

Ruschestraße 103,
10365 Berlin-Lichtenberg
House 7, 5. & 6. floor

11 Dec  3 – 6 pm
14 Dec  3 – 6 pm
15 Dec  3 – 6 pm
18 Dec  3 – 6 pm


In the films in this exhibition, bodies appear as agents and subjects of the specific forms of the political in the late GDR and in the revolution of 1989. Gabriele Stötzer’s Veitstanz/Feixtanz (1988, Super 8, 25 min), shows a cast of characters from the different (non-)scenes of the late GDR – a punk, a pregnant woman, a dancer, a peacenik, an old woman, a football fan – dancing themselves into a trance in a setting chosen by each of them – on the sidewalk, on the roof-tops, by the river, on a playground, in front of a ruin, in the East German city of Erfurt – against a soundtrack of trams and passersby. Wolfgang Scholz’ Bodybuilding (1988, 25 mins) is a documentary film about a male body-building group and the time they spent torturing themselves on their self-made machines. We see them passing time in a training barracks: a rhythm of sweating bodies whose only aim it is to have larger muscles as symbol of greater strength. Body-building was considered a capitalist sport and frowned upon in the GDR. Elske Rosenfeld’s edits of videos recorded by dissident film-maker Klaus Freymuth in 1989/90 – A bit of a Complex Situation (2014) and Versuche/Framed (2018) intensify the physical movements that are created when the experience of a (post-)revolutionary moment exceeds the currently sayable. Andrea Pichl’s installation and display TSC (2019) sets these films into and against the disturbing aura of a room in which the Stasi took care of its employees through yoga and table tennis. “TSC” is short for Berliner Turn- und Sportclub e.V., the Berlin Gymnastics and Sportsclub that was founded as a counterpart to the sports clubs of the Army and the Police.


The exhibition is part of Elske Rosenfeld’s ongoing research into the body and revolution, “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures”.

Organised by Archive Kabinett e.V. under the artistic direction of Chiara Figone

The exhibition Turnen/Gymnastics: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures is supported by Haupstadtkulturfonds.



About the Publication:

Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland #1
wild recuperations. material from below

With contributions by Alex Gerbaulet + Mareike Bernien, Anna Zett, Elsa Westreicher, Elske Rosenfeld, Ernest Ah + Sabrina Saase + Lee Stevens of the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective, Irena Kukutz, Nadia Tsulukidze, Peggy Piesche, Samirah Kenawi, Suza Husse + Ina Röder Sissoko, Technosekte + Henrike Naumann; and Katalin Cseh-Varga, Maria Josephina Bengan Making, Rebecca Hernandez García, Redi Koobak, Sebastian Pflugbeil, Tim Eisenlohr;

Edited by Elske Rosenfeld und Suza Husse

wildes wiederholen. material from below.
Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland #1

Dissident practices and sociabilities of the late GDR unfolded in a present that was largely detached from any utopian future. Their traces are alive in the memory of those involved in the cultural and political underground at the time and in numerous materials and documents at archives and collections. wild recuperations. material from below follows a shared desire to bring these experiences and environments from below into a meaningful and complex dialogue with the politics of the present. Drawing on current artistic and critical forms of working with archives and memory, the book gathers a plurality of approaches to the fabric of absence and of possibility that the Archive of the GDR Opposition aggregates. The positions from which histories are experienced, desired and told – their situatedness in bodies, languages and ecologies – are part of each story.

A District*School without Center and Archive Books publication in collaboration with the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft / Archive of the GDR-Opposition. This book inaugurates the series Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland. Book and program are funded by the Berliner Beauftragten zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur.


Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland #1
Book Launch wild recuperations. material from below and program
in the exhibition Turnen/Gymnastics: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures

8 December 3 – 8 pm

Haus 7 (5th & 6th floor) Campus für Demokratie,
Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin-Lichtenberg


3 pm Exhibition Opening: Turnen/Gymnastics: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures
Introduction by Andrea Pichl and Elske Rosenfeld, over Bread and Schnaps

4 – 5.30 pm East German Underground Sound 1979-1990 and “Legeparty”
Punkrock, Postpunk and kin sounds – a musical commentary to wild recuperation. material from below by Henryk Gericke, author and curator of the exhibition ostPUNK! – too much future
& collective Samizdat-stapling session with the 1989 samizdat URKUNDE – 40 Years of the GDR guided by artists Anna Zett

5.30 pm Book Presentation wild recuperations. material from below
Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland #1
with the archivists, contributors, editors and publishers

6.30 pm Conversation about Black feminism and antifascist self-organisation between GDR and pOstdeutschland
with Ina Röder Sissoko, active in the women*s and lesbian movements of the GDR and, from 1989, in the Black feminist movement in Germany