WBS70 – Fifty Years After.
Kunst.off Plattenbau.

Dresden | Exhibition | until March 2021
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

The era of socialist housing construction ended with the political change around 1989/90. Now, 30 years after this historical upheaval, this controversial architectural legacy is attracting increasing public interest. Artists, photographers and architectural historians have discovered the prefabricated building as an attractive subject and field of research.


The exhibition WBS70 – Fifty Years After. Kunst.off Plattenbau. presents works by international artists who deal with the subject of industrial housing construction in the pre-1990 era.

Participating artists
ALEX REX (Halle, DE)

The occasion for this exhibition, which is coupled with an extensive supporting program, is the 50th anniversary of the development of the housing series 70, usually only called WBS70, which still shapes the appearance of many East German residential areas and places today. Because it was the most widespread type of panel building in the GDR.

With the political turning point around 1989/90, the era of socialist housing construction ended, which determined the economic and social policy of most Eastern Bloc countries. Back then, the focus was on large housing estates, which often formed complex, self-contained urban development ensembles. In addition to the completely new urban environment, the planners also used them to create new social structures. Under the market economy and political conditions of the post-socialist era, they turned out to be a challenge for the municipalities. Even before the fall of the Wall, there was a great deal of conflict potential in these settlements. But it was suppressed or at least ignored for political reasons.

Tomasz Lewandowski, 2020
Exhibition poster „WBS70 – fünfzig Jahre danach“


This is illustrated by the only historical contribution to the exhibition, the photo book installation by Christine Starke. For this book, created in 1988/89, the photographer documented a block of prefabricated panels in the Dresden district of Gorbitz and also portrayed the very different residents in an extensive series of pictures. On closer inspection of these photographs, one can discover scratched symbols and slogans on a house wall, which suggest a racist background. This gives an idea of ​​later developments. After 1990, the prefabricated buildings in most of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc lost their image as modern and sought-after housing within a few years. In many regions of the former GDR there was a progressive decline in population during this time, including in the earlier model settlements. Some of these residential areas even became social hot spots in the course of the new occupancy policy. Now, thirty years after this historical upheaval, this controversial architectural legacy is attracting increasing public interest. Artists, photographers and architectural historians have discovered the prefabricated building as an attractive subject and field of research. In the pop culture and design scene, socialist architectural modernism ("Ostmoderne") has even advanced to become a real star.

Christine Starke
Christine Starke, „Gorbitz“, 1989


Artists from Germany and Central Eastern Europe were invited to the exhibition. The interdisciplinary concept of the project is intended to promote the dialogue between the artists from the different countries and at the same time create a kind of research platform on which the reception of the prefabricated building in the art of the former Eastern Bloc countries is compared with one another.
The participants offer a wide range of different artistic forms of expression. Works from classical genres such as painting and graphics as well as works from the field of new media or conceptual art are presented. Some of the works come from the border area between design, science and art.

Martin Maleschka
Martin Maleschka, „Wohnmaschine“ (Living machine), 2019


In addition to the main exhibition in the gallery of the Kunsthaus Raskolnikow, a prefabricated apartment in Dresden-Gorbitz will serve as an external location. The installation Wohnmaschine 2.0 by the artist Martin Maleschka, made up of everyday objects from the GDR, is shown in an apartment made available by the Eisenbahner Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft eG. Stefan Paruch applies the words Past was perfect as graffiti to the gable wall of the Kunsthaus in Boehmische Strasse 34, which is already visible from afar. In doing so, he adapts the methods of political struggle in the Eastern Bloc countries before 1990. This also included slogans critical of the system that were written on the walls in paint by opposition members. These were often swept over or covered in some other way by the respective security services after a short time, but could often still be deciphered on closer inspection.

Visualization: Tomasz Lewandowski
Stefan Paruch, „Past was perfect“, 2020


Art and culture events such as Raster Beton (2016) in Leipzig-Grünau and Tu zaszła zmiana (What is changing here, 2007) in Warsaw can give new impetus to local urban development and current architectural discourses. In addition to the establishment of new initiatives, this often leads to a more differentiated perception and reassessment of the traditional architectural heritage. The exhibition WBS70 – Fifty Years After. due to its international orientation, it is intended to offer a diverse stage for the ongoing exchange of ideas and ideas for the current discussions on the topic of prefabricated building. The exhibited works and artistic interventions draw attention to many previously unknown aspects and relationships.

Hendrik Voerkel
Hendrik Voerkel, „Fensterspiel“ (Window game) 2018


Exhibition locations
► Kunsthaus Raskolnikow e. V. | Böhmische Straße 34 | 01099 Dresden-Neustadt
Gallery opening times
Wed-Fri 3 p.m.–6 p.m. and Sat 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Model apartment | Exhibition of Martin Maleschka's Living machine 2.0
► Hainbuchenstrasse 10 | 01169 Dreden-Gorbitz
Opening times from November 4 to December 16, 2020
Exhibition tours on Wednesdays at 4 p.m.

WBS70 – Fifty Years After.
30.10.– 18.12.2020

The exhibition program also includes lectures, artist talks, thematic film evenings and a specialist conference on housing construction in the former Eastern Bloc.


Unfinished Metropolis

Berlin | Exhibition
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

The New Municipality of Berlin, also called  Greater Berlin, was created one hundred years ago on 1 October 1920. It was a once-in-a-century event! The old Berlin was consolidated with seven cities, 59 rural communities and 27 agricultural estates. The exhibition uses exemplary locations, projects and plans to explore topics that have shaped and changed the metropolis of Berlin.

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