On April 10, 2023 the Galerie EIGEN + ART is going to celebrate its 40th anniversary. With its founder Gerd Harry Lybke, it has written history both before and after the reunification. Being the only gallery from the former GDR it operates on the international art market with locations in Leipzig and Berlin. It represents more than 36 international contemporary artists.
Image above: 1988, Gerd Harry Lybke in Fritz-Austel-Str. in Leipzig, Portrait
Gerd Harry Lybke established the Galerie EIGEN + ART, the first private gallery in the former GDR, on April 10, 1983 in Leipzig. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he achieved his international breakthrough at the New York Armory Show in 2002, when he presented the Leipzig painter Neo Rauch. From then on the gallery built its reputation with figurative painting associated with the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. To this day, it represents important painters of this and subsequent generations from Leipzig, such as Uwe Kowski, Tim Eitel, David Schnell, Titus Schade, Mirjam Völker and Kristina Schuldt. The programme features artists in the media of painting, film and video, photography, installation and sculpture, conceptual and performance art.
In the early years, it was an illegal meeting point where exhibitions, happenings, and performances were held, but the gallery quickly developed into a well-known address for an ambitious exhibition programme, with the participation of artists who are still represented in the program, like Carsten Nicolai, Neo Rauch, and Olaf Nicolai.
“Those who have no past have no future.“Gerd Harry Lybke
Then and now, the gallery has been working very closely and for many years with the artists it represents. Some of them have been in the programme for forty years, and new generations of artists have been coming ever since. The gallery acts internationally, from Europe to the US, Asia and currently South Africa.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, Gerd Harry Lybke and several of the gal- lery’s artist friends visited the international art metropoles: in 1990, he opened a temporary gallery in Tokyo, and later in Paris (1991), Berlin (1992), New York (1993), and London (1994). In parallel, the gallery took part in the most important art fairs in Frankfurt, Basel, Cologne, New York, Berlin, Miami, London, and Paris. The first domestic fair in which the gallery participated was the ART-Frankfurt in the spring of 1990, with works by Olaf Nicolai, Carsten Nicolai, Rainer Görß, Peter Dittmar, Jörg Herold, and others. The first international fair participation was Basel in 1990, with a solo presentation of Annelies Štrba’s works.
The gallery has three branches, two of which are in Berlin. The EIGEN + ART LAB was founded in 2012 as a third location where young artists who are not permanently represented in the gallery‘s programme can realize exhibitions and projects in the gallery context.The gallery implements this idea internationally when it works together with young artists on site in South Africa, Korea, Taiwan, China, Ukraine, USA, Great Britain, and Israel. The opening of pop-up galleries and participations in art fairs in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Cape Town show that the gallery is active both locally and in global contexts.
Artists from the gallery’s program exhibited solo presentations at the Venice Biennale in the Israeli pavilion in 2005, the German pavilion in 2015, and the Mon- golian pavilion in 2019; they also participated in international group exhibitions, for example the documenta Kassel and Athens, the Biennales in Venice, Berlin, Istanbul, and Gwangju, the international Art Festival in Sapporo, and the Yokohama and Hangzhou Trienniales.
Today, Galerie EIGEN + ART represents 36 artists in the media of painting, film and video, photography, installation and sculpture, conceptual and performance art in three locations in Leipzig and Berlin, and has more than 25 employees.
Karl-Heinz Adler, Maja Behrmann, Akos Birkas, Birgit Brenner, Louisa Clement, Marc Desgrandchamps, Martin Eder, Tim Eitel, Martin Groß, Stefan Guggisberg, Stella Hamberg, Stef Heidhues, Jörg Herold, Christine Hill, Igor Hosnedl, Uwe Kowski, Melora Kuhn, Maix Mayer, Ryan Mosley, Lada Nakonechna, Carsten Nicolai, Olaf Nicolai, Neo Rauch, Ricarda Roggan, Madeleine Roger-Lacan, Nicola Samorì, Yehudit Sasportas, Titus Schade, Kai Schiemenz, David Schnell, Kristina Schuldt, Brett Charles Seiler, Annelies Štrba, Ulrike Theusner, Mirjam Völker, Raul Walch.
Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin
Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig