As a West German you rarely enter the very Eastern parts of Berlin. Hohenschönhausen is known as one of the centers of power of the Former Communist Regime. The Stasi had it’s headquarters and a notorious prison there. Political prisoners would be tortured psysically and psychologically in there. A park hosts the former center for GDR’s sport athletes. For getting medals at the Olympics sportspeople would be abused with doping to demonstrate the superiority of the Communist system. Many of them suffered serious health problems later on.
In his first life artist Gunter Schöne had been an engineer. He was born 1947, three years after the end of WWII, in Chemnitz. Schöne got socialized in the early Years of the GDR, the “real socialist” German Democratic Republic. When he was downgraded as an engineer in a leading position to the expert for public relations in a stateowned enterprise, his life changed. Schöne discovered his creative skills and started hating the realsocialist life, he anyway had never adored.
“You just have to imagine being ruled by really dull people with lot’s of power and energy to abuse it” he sums up his experiences in the late GDR. In 1985 he applied for an outward voyage, a step marking anyone as an enemy of the State due to the general ban of leaving the Republic. Schöne had to work as a grave digger for nearly three years earning a minimum of money. In his positive way he smirks nowadays: “Being a burying beetle really made me very sporty and fit, six feet under in two and a half hours was my best timing. Beside you were surrounded by like-minded people. On the graveyard the unwanted were parked.”
In 1988 Gunter Schöne left the GDR and moved to Bavaria in Western Germany. A year later he started a Graphic-Design University education and began to work as an artist. One year after his departure the wall between the East and the West fell. Nevertheless Schöne stayed in the South of Germany. Just in 2004 he moved to Berlin and started an education as a stone-sculptorer. In 2012 he moved his Studio to Hohenschönhausen. It is located in one of the Headquarters of the former Statesecurity-police Stasi.
As an artist Gunter Schöne has an impressive range of working styles. Installations, Stone-sculptures, Assemblages. He is working conceptually, he is a fan of fairy tales and currently residing in Istanbul as the first awardee of the residency-program of the Union of Fine artists Berlin Brandenburg. Thomas Büsch and Sabine Küper-Büsch are the Istanbul based partners of the residency program and visited Gunter Schöne in Hohenschönhausen prior to his arrival at the Bosporus. The studio of the artist in Berlin is open for visitors, you can contact him for appointments. http://www.gunter-schoene.de/Willkommen.html
Soundtrack: French Chanson instrumental, slightly transformed parts of the Soundtrack of the movie “The Life of Others”, the film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, about the monitoring of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police.
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