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Biography of Brunolf Metzler

"I see art as both a task and a chance to take part in changing times and to find other people who are experiencing the same thing. For me, the esthetic means are not main purpose of painting, but they make it possible for me to express myself."

This quotation provides an introduction to the biography of the famous artist and teacher Brunolf Metzler. Metzler was born in Merschwitz near Dresden in 1940. (He was baptized
an evangelist.)

He is married and has three daughters. During the period from 1954 to 1960 he took an apprenticeship as a bank clerk and worked as a shepherd. However, from 1955 until 1961 he suffered from tuberculosis and had to spend a lot of time in a number of different sanatoriums. In 1959 he began painting, studied the works of the old masters and taught himself to paint. He developed his own unique style using surrealistic methods to portray human relations and earned a reputation as a singular artistic talent.

From 1960 until 1962 he did a number of jobs: bookkeeper, bank clerk and agricultural worker. During this time he earned extra money painting sketches. During a two week stay in Dresden he applied to join an art college. The famous East- German artist Lea Grundig recognised his talent and with her support Brunolf Metzler was accepted into the art college, but, however, he was not allowed to study because of his activities with the independent artists organisation "Die Treppe", which was disapproved of by the East- German regime. From 1962 until 1968 he worked in a young people´s home and later taught in a primary school.

Since 1969 he has been an art teacher in Oranienburg. In 1973 he was invited to exhibit his work at the Institute for Fine Arts in Ostfriesland, a small group of islands off the north coast of Germany. Metzler had a number of exhibitions in West- Germany (forbidden by the East- German government), which made his work better known in West- Germany than in East- Germany. As a result of pressure from the East- German authorities Metzler had to stop exhibiting in the West. Until the end of the 80s he lived in artistic isolation. He applied to go to university but was turned down. He was rejected by the East- German Artists Association making it difficult for him to obtain art materials for his work. This experience of rejection and isolation has had an influence on his work and is reflected in many of his paintings.

The "Wende" in 1989 was the turning point for Metzler. In September of the year he joined the "Neue Forum" (grassroots democracy movement) and was founder and organiser for his local region. This brought him increased attention from East- German state security. Metzler´s aim was to use "Neue Forum" to force the East- German authorities into a dialogue. In November 1989 he searched for people with simular views to join the mass movement for democracy. Following reunification on 3 October 1990 Metzler gave his first official exhibition in 1991.

This was followed by a second exhibition at the protestant church in Oranienburg, where his pre- "Wende" works were exhibited.

In 1994 he worked on the "Wende- Altar", a triptych which describes experiences before and after the "Wende" for the Nikolaichurch in Oranienburg. In the left wing of this triptych the artist conveys feeling of isolation and fear of people in the former East- Germany. In the middle section Metzler shows the confusion and the apocalyptical conditions of the "Wende" and in the right wing Metzler portrays the state abusing its powers.

"The Altar piece can be seen as a request to examine if the chance given by the "Wende" really provided the freedoms both mental and physical that it promised." After the work on the peace monument in Frohnau (Berlin) in 1996 there was another exhibition in Hannover in 1997 which had as ist focal point the "Wende- Altar". In the same year, Metzler was invited by the Federal President Roman Herzog and the Speaker of the German parliament, Rita Süssmuth, to the anniversary celebrations of German Unity in Stuttgart.

Another very important activity of Metzler is the support and encouragement of young arists.

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