Café Deutschland (Lift/Tremble/Back)
Oil on Canvas
285 x 330cm
Jorg Immendorff’s most famous accomplishment is his Café Deutschland series, begun in 1977 and continued through the 1980’s. His imaginary nightclub sits on the east-west border, an independent territory where the burlesque theatre of cold-war politics, national identity, and battle of artistic legacy is played out night after night in all its subterfuge and drama. This series of work takes its initial architecture from Renato Guttoso’s Café Greco, but in painting after painting the ‘camera angle’ shifts, the furniture is rearranged, and the action is captured in contorted perspective of the not-so-innocent bystander.
In this Café from 1984, Jorg Immendorff has already predicted German reunification. To the left of the canvas the Brandenburg Gate, with its four apocalyptic horses, tumbles through the bar taking with it the sheet of ice blanketing the country. To the right, an impotent, long-entombed Hitler looks to the future from a boozy perspective, while being carried off by venomous talons. As usual, the artist himself watches the whole scene unfold from his comfortable ringside table.