Appelt, Dieter


German, b. 1935; lives and works in Berlin, Germany


Many of Dieter Appelt’s works address his traumatic post-World War II experience of Germany through a series of photographed performances or “actions”—as he calls them, after Joseph Beuys. This emphasis on dramatic performance may stem from the fact that Appelt was trained as an opera singer, and worked with the Deutsche Opera Berlin for eighteen years before turning to photography in 1979. Focusing on detailed photographic studies of elements of his body in performance, he utilizes extreme physicality and labored temporality to allude to issues of death, decay, rebirth, and the ephemeral. “I want to unmask time in a picture,” Appelt has said. “I’m interested in having a succession of movements layered in one image. I use time like a mechanic, permanently layering memories and actual experiences … like a time montage.” His image of breath on a mirror breaks down that evanescent moment into a series of concrete actions, and distills time into a frame-by-frame sequential performance.

Artworks by Appelt, Dieter

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