Christian W. Staudinger

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Christian W. Staudinger

Christian W. Staudinger (born December 19, 1952 in Erfurt, East Germany) is a German artist who attended to art after his escape from the GDR and the trial of a civil life. He is dedicated to the visual arts (sculpture & painting), the performance & conceptual art, the poetry & political arts,[1] is video artist and arranges installation art.


Childhood in Waltershausen (1952–1968)[edit]

Bayerischer Hof in Waltershausen – home
Early practice makes the master… Staudinger with camera of his father

Staudinger was the son of a hotel and restaurant manager, Gerhard Staudinger (b. April 20, 1923 in Erfurt, d. February 3, 1988 in Waltershausen), and his wife Edeltraut (b. January 30, 1927 in Wandersleben, d. December 11, 2011 in Waltershausen). He grew up in the village of Schmira near Erfurt and from 1956 in Waltershausen, where his parents ran the Bayerischer Hof restaurant, a member of the state-controlled Restaurant Trade Organisation (German: HO). In Schirma they ran the Hotel Welcome a private, independent business, but in 1956, about the time when Christian's brother Ulrich was born, they moved to the state-controlled hotel in Waltershausen, as they had to give up their independent operators' license. Staudiger had a happy childhood although there were arguments with his parents about politics. His parents were still influenced by the politics of the Nazi era, and were extremely critical of the GDR. The national flag was not flown when it was required to be and his parents never voted in GDR elections, although these were both officially required duties in GDR. However, members of the Stasi hierachy visited his parents' restaurant because of the good food. Christian Staudinger was an enthusiastic communist, avidly read communist literature and was a keen drummer in the local marching band in Waltershausen, guided by his teacher Otto Müller.

His paternal grandfather, Wilhelm Staudinger, was a German nationalist, who ran Hotel Welcome with his wife Paula, before his son took over. During the Nazi period he gave extra bread and milk to forced labourers. The village teacher betrayed him. He was arrested, tortured at Petersberg Citadel in Erfurt and died a few days later as result. Staudiger's maternal grandfather, Phillip Orth, worked for the German Railways and co-founded the Communist Party of Germany in Neudietendorf shortly after the First World War. To protect the family, he sent his daughter to League of German Girls, a Nazi organisation. He was not bothered by the Nazis and died when Christian Staudinger was 16 years old. His uncle, Sigmar Orth, was a liaison officer between the police and the Stasi, who encouraged Staudiger's interest in history and enthusiasim for the developing communist German state.

Youth and escape from East Germany (1968–1972)[edit]

At age 16, Christian W. Staudinger left home and went to Erfurt, where he began his waiter-apprenticeship after his original career aspirations of the sailor in the merchant navy and, thereafter, the boatman on inland waters had been rejected by the Stasi. The people in GDR needed a permit from the state for their career aspirations. In Erfurt he fell into circles around Eberhard Häfner and others,[2] which discussed passionate about politics and art, listened to the music of the so-called imperialist Staatsfeind and he came in contact with THC and LSD-25. He read Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego and Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud, which he had received from Eberhard Häfner. The new findings he tied into his examination paper for the final examination – then at least an affront. The teacher, Mrs. Richter, expressed her enthusiasm behind her hand, but could not vote because literature of the “State-enemy” had been cited. The day after his practical test, from which he made a parody and therefore he failed, Staudinger went to his escape from East Germany. To his desire to leave his beloved home, emerging and fast growing doubts about the integrity of the system have led. He had read the classics, but all that did not stand a comparison with reality. In addition, he wanted to become a skydiver. He was in the Gesellschaft für Sport und Technik, but in order to jump one had to be in the National People's Army or in the Stasi. The Stasi began to be interested in him and tried to recruit him as part of the OPK (operational checks on persons). He felt honored and loved those discussions with the Stasi officers who at home always encountered violent counter-arguments. But soon the Stasi was tired, wanted names that refused the artist and at the end stand the never-forgotten threat who received many former GDR-citizens in the same wording: “Either you are with us or against us. Join in and out you can be something. If not, you will croak on the machine!”

GDR-document about act of dismissing

Christian W. Staudinger 1971 in the age of 18 and together with a friend made on the way to Bulgaria in order to leave the country to Turkey. This way many so-called “Republic-refugees” had chosen, as Stefan Appelius,[3] Professor of Political Science, has researched. Only the brother was informed, in order not to endanger the family. At the Veleka[4] they failed to escape because the maps were false.[5] They came to arrest and torture[6] in the Bulgarian prisons. But he stayed alive, unlike other refugees.[7] The Stasi in Bulgaria stationed brought him back to East Germany, he came into the Stasi prison Andreasstrasse[8] in Erfurt in custody and was sentenced to one year and seven months for his attempt of illegal emigration and anti-state-propaganda, which he served in Cottbus. With the help of the two lawyers Vogel & Stange (one east, one west, and in that times famous in Germany) he came straight from prison to the Federal Republic of Germany. He by a tragic event, unlike many others in the GDR for political offenses convicted, came into possession of at least the copies of the indictment[9] and judgment.[10] The experiences of the flight are published in German as an audio book on YouTube,[11] spoken by Erich Räuker.[12] Shortly before his flight Christian W. Staudinger had fathered a child, of which he only heard in prison as it was already born. He managed to bring mother and child in the way of family reunification to West-Berlin. The West and the events of the recent past ruined everything he had believed, so that he tried to kill himself in 1974 with 250 sleeping pills. From a clinical death the doctors succeeded in his salvation. His brother, Ulrich Staudinger,[13] later was sentenced to 4 years for reportedly subversive propaganda. Released earlier he jumped to death in West-Berlin-subway 1981.[14]

Adult in Berlin (since 1972)[edit]

Having found accommodation in the Evangelisches Johannisstift in Berlin pastor Helmut Gwiasda[15] took him under his wing. He let Christian W. Staudinger complete the diaconal basic course.[16] But it drove him on. He went to high school and then studied social pedagogy and philosophy. The own prison experience led him professionally in the prison, where he 1981–1986 in the women's prison in Berlin worked as a group leader with drug-addicted adult women. Severe migraine attacks forced him to give up. He moved to the art and creates since his work. His efforts, to become member of the Professional Association of Visual Artists in Berlin (BBK)[17] failed – he was rejected because he did not want to be reduced to the visual arts. He responded with a public debate in the former Open Channel Berlin – today AlexTV.[18] The connection of art & sport is important to the artist.[19] In 1977 he on Texel/Netherlands completed his training as parachutist and 1992 in DeLand, Florida as jumpmaster.

Artistic career[edit]

Painting in childhood
Goddess of ecstasy

The first abstract paintings were created when he was no more than ten years old – he called them children's work.[20] Three representational paintings from this period with the titles The LPG, Klaustor and Moon landing were exhibited at school Waltershausen but never returned and have been lost since the change 1989/90. Russian- and drawing-teacher Thiem promoted the artistic talent and looked after the missing talent for foreign languages. Photography and filming was brought close to the artist by his father, who was an enthusiastic amateur photographer and early produced – with modest technology standard – Super 8 films, so that the childhood of the artist is well documented. Staudinger sold the first pictures at school and accumulated in this way a good pocket money, managed by the mother – a part of which he burned in the context of his first performance outside the Theater of Friendship in Waltershausen. In his school the artist was from 5th to the 10th grade in the Committee Film in the Theater of Friendship.[21] In 1968 he created his first poems.[22] The illegal West-TV in the parental household brought Christian W. Staudinger to the enthusiasm at Joseph Beuys and in contact with in the GDR banned authors like Erich Fromm, Sigmund Freud, Laozi, Nietzsche, C.G. Jung and others.[23]

In 1980 he moved to his first and still tiny painting-studio in Berlin. He worked initially self-taught and was again, as in childhood, a bookworm.[24] In 1981, shortly after the beginning of his work in the prison, he at the former so called Landesbildstelle Berlin made a video course and applied thereafter for the first time at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb).[25] Also another application was unsuccessful. In 1983 he founded the publishing company Zwielicht[26] and published his two, now resulting volumes of poetry: Zustände eines Grenzverletzers[27] and Über mir bin Es.[28] In the same year he took part first and from there to its end every year at the Free Berlin Art Exhibition (in German FBK) under leadership of Ernst Leonhardt[29] – almost without a trace in the World Wide Web, with one exception.[30] He was member of the group of artists Blindflug[31] which was led by Norbert Wirth.[32] Later he joined the FBK as an individual artist.

In 1986 the main occupation as an artist begun and the participation in the Open Channel Berlin – today AlexTV.[33] In the following 8 years, there have been numerous artistic projects, first performances and the development of conceptual art.[34] Some videos were posted on the Hamburg short-film-festival, while others were presented at the Tokyo International Film Festival, including Die Mutter, Revolution and Heimat.[35] In 1994, Christian W. Staudinger took part in the Artistic Competition Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe[36] and started at the Free Art School in Berlin (FKB) his studies of screen printing and sculpture, which he later continued with Peter Rosenzweig[37] in Campo dell'Altissimo.[38] In 2005 he stood as a witness for injustice in GDR at the former[39] in Erfurt, Hildigund Neubert. This led to an artistic action in his former cell in the Andreasstrasse Stasi prison in Erfurt.[40] In the meantime he moved twice with his painting-studio to larger ones, and two sculptor-studios in Berlin and Waltershausen were established. In 2007 he presented to the public the results of his 10-year dispute with Nazism and Adolf Hitler under the title Adolf Hitler 007[41][42] – under police protection, but except a small event announcement muted[43] by the media. 2008 his dispute with the second German dictatorship in times of GDR began under the title Prison & Torture in Bulgaria and the GDR. Two exhibitions were the outcome in 2014 in Erfurt, one in the former prison[44][45] and one in Speicher/Erfurt.[46][47] Last not least there are plans for a ArtHouse Waltershausen in the house of parents in Thuringia.

Artistic works[edit]

Abstract painting
Abstract painting

The artistic work includes paintings[48] in different styles, formats and techniques, drawings,[49] collages,[50] etchings, crayon, silkscreen, watercolors[51] and BookArt[52] – i.e. drawings that are created when reading in books and influenced by what is read. There are also sculptures,[53] statuettes[54] and applied art,[55] as well as installation art and assemblages. A large room takes, just lately, the political art[56] using their confrontation with the two German dictatorships. There is an extensive archive with conceptual art[57] and some in the field Land art under the title Stones of the Earth.[58] The work includes natural and artificial Photos,[59] as well as poetry & postcards.[60] The video works[61] often accompanies other artistic projects by Christian W. Staudinger and documents them or show accompanying performances. The covers for DVDs are designed and manufactured by hand. Lately they are, often greatly reduced, posted on his YouTube channel.[62]



  • Über mir bin Es. Gedichte, Zeichnungen, Fotos, Collagen. Zwielicht-Verlag Berlin 1989 ISBN 3-924031-01-0
  • Zustände eines Grenzverletzers. Gedichte und Zeichnungen. Zwielicht-Verlag Berlin 1983 ISBN 3-924031-00-2


Staudinger-rocks in Sinai/Egypt

All short videos up to 2011 were published in full-length (40–120 min.) in the Open Channel Berlin (OKB, today AlexTV).

  • Abstrakte Gemälde
  • Adolf Hitler 007
  • Adolf Hitler 007 (English)
  • AktArt 2000
  • Bei Albert Hofmann
  • Bei Albert Hofmann (Persiflage)
  • Bei Beuys
  • Bulgarischer Kerker
  • Die Veleka
  • Diodenzeichnungen
  • DocumentaX – 7 parts
  • Ein Gesicht in der Zeit
  • EX
  • Flucht aus der DDR
  • Fresko in Vernichtung
  • Kunst in Amerika
  • KunstKaos in Köpenick[64]
  • Massenmordident
  • Mauerbesteigung 1988
  • Outgeburtboxschlachtung
  • Produzentenportrait
  • Quantenphysik 2009
  • Raum-Zeit-Licht
  • Scherung
  • Schwarz-Weiss
  • Skydiving-freestyle
  • Staudingerrocks
  • Surrealistische Gemälde



  • 1964: Polytechnische Oberschule Waltershausen/GDR,[65] group-exhibition
  • 1983–1995: Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung – annual participation[66]
  • 1986: Offener Kanal Berlin/AlexTV – ongoing publishing of art-videos
  • 1987: Galerie Goltzstr. 32, Berlin[67]
  • 1987: Die Anweisung[68]
  • 1989: Kunsthaus Lütjenwestedt, Schleswig-Holstein[69]
  • 1991: Gesinnungstat Kunst, Mediathek Köpenick[70]
  • 1995: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin[71]
  • 1996: KunstKaos in Köpenick[72]
  • 1998: Erdensteine, Sinai – ongoing public exhibition[73]
  • 1999: Abstraktionen, Museum für Leben & Kunst, Berlin[74]
  • 2001: Camera obscura, Wuhlheide Berlin[75]
  • 2002: Köpfe & Abstraktionen, Edenhaus am Europacenter, Berlin[76]
  • 2007: Adolf Hitler 007 – Unerträgliches ertragen , Berlin[77]
  • 2014: so nah...weit fern – group-exhibition in Erfurt[78]


Performance IFA 91


  • 1988: Die Mauer muss weg
  • 1988: Hommage an Joseph Beuys
  • 1991: Kunstaktion IFA91
  • 1994: Das Bild sind Sie selbst
  • 1997: Hommage an die Christo's
  • 1997: Soma
  • 2013: MACHT BANK KUNST ???


  1. ^ political arts
  2. ^ Independent literature in the GDR
  3. ^ more about refugees from GDR over Bulgaria at Stephan Appelius
  4. ^ The Veleka on YouTube: Video of the place of arrest where many refugees from GDR failed
  5. ^ More about fake maps at Planet Wissen
  6. ^ More about arrest & torture of the artist
  7. ^ Tod in Bulgarien. Bouvier Verlag, Bonn 2007
  8. ^ Stasi prison Andreasstrasse
  9. ^ staudinger's indictment
  10. ^ Staudinger's Judgment
  11. ^ Audiobook on YouTube about the experiences of Staudinger in his flight (in German)
  12. ^ Erich Räuker, voice actor – see also his official website and his personal website
  13. ^ Brother Ulrich
  14. ^ Ulrich's death, see also Video
  15. ^ Helmut Gwiasda: Demokratie – eine christliche Staatsform. Kreuz-Verlag 1987
  16. ^ See also Deacon
  17. ^ see also website of BBK
  18. ^ see also Website of AlexTV
  19. ^ see for instance Staudinger's project Art & Sport
  20. ^ children's work by Staudinger
  21. ^ Staudinger and the Theater of Friendship/Waltershausen, including poster of Spur der Steine
  22. ^ Staudinger's volumes of poetry, see also here and following sites
  23. ^ Independent literature in the GDR
  24. ^ see Staudinger's BookArt, and also Video BookArt
  25. ^ see also website of the dffb Archived June 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Zwielicht-Verlag
  27. ^ Christian Staudinger: Zustände eines Grenzverletzers. Gedichte und Zeichnungen. Zwielicht-Verlag, Berlin 1983 ISBN 3-924031-00-2, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  28. ^ Christian Staudinger: Über mir bin Es. Gedichte Zeichnungen Collagen Fotos. Zwielicht-Verlag, Berlin 1989 ISBN 3-924031-01-0, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  29. ^ see also website of Ernst Leonhardt
  30. ^ here
    all catalogs without disclosing publisher and editor, but seen under “1983–1995 participation in FBK” in MLK
    Catalog: 13. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1983, pp. 88–90.
    Catalog: 14. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1984, pp. 72–75.
    Catalog: 15. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1985, pp. 87–89.
    Catalog: 16. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1986, pp. 83–85.
    Catalog: 17. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1987, pp. 85–87.
    Catalog: 18. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1988, pp. 82–84.
    Catalog: 19. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1989, p. 91.
    Catalog: 20. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1990, pp. 91–93.
    Catalog: 21. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1991, p. 79.
    Catalog: 23. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1993, pp. 10 + 163.
    Catalog: 24. Freie BerlinerKunstausstellung 1994, p. 111.
    Catalog: 25. Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung 1995, p. 149 + 235.
  31. ^ about the group Blindflug there is almost nothing on the net except here under “1983–1995 participation in FBK”
  32. ^ Norbert Wirth
  33. ^ see also website of AlexTV
  34. ^ see Staudinger's conceptual art
  35. ^ for example: Die Mutter, 1996, BRD, 15 Min. In: Anke Schwede (Hg.): Verzeichnis Dokumentarvideo 96. querblick 1997, p. 55, ISBN 3-931731-34-0. Apart from that, both the Hamburg short-film-festival and Tokyo International Film Festival do not call all the participants or the archives are not far enough back.
  36. ^ see website of the foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Unfortunately, there are neither there nor in another place in the network, the names of the 528 participants in the artistic competition. See also: Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and The artist's contribution
  37. ^ Website of Peter Rosenzweig
  38. ^ Campo dell' Altissimo
  39. ^ Land Commissioner Thüringen for the Stasi records
  40. ^ read more about that place at the Foundation Ettersberg
  41. ^ Art exhibition Adolf Hitler 007
  42. ^ Video documentation of the vernissage on YouTube
  43. ^ Event Note of the exhibition Adolf Hitler 007 in Tagesspiegel, there under “Tegeler Weg 104”
  44. ^ see Andreasstrasse under October 3
  45. ^ Documentation of the exhibition with photos & videos
  46. ^ see website of Speicher in Erfurt
  47. ^ Documentation of the exhibition with photos & videos
  48. ^ Art Gallery
  49. ^ Drawings
  50. ^ Collages
  51. ^ Etchings, crayons, silkscreens, watercolors
  52. ^ BookArt
  53. ^ Sculptures
  54. ^ Statuettes
  55. ^ Objects
  56. ^ PoliticalArt
  57. ^ Conceptual art
  58. ^ Stones of the earth
  59. ^ Photo gallery
  60. ^ Poetry & postcards
  61. ^ Video works
  62. ^ Staudinger's YouTube-channel
  63. ^ Staudinger's YouTube-channel
  64. ^ KunstKaos in Köpenick
  65. ^ Exhibitions & releases
  66. ^ Flyer & posters 1983–95 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung
  67. ^ Flyer & posters 1987 Galerie Goltzstr. 32
  68. ^ Flyer & posters 1987 Die Anweisung
  69. ^ Flyer & posters 1989 Kunsthaus Lütjenwestedt
  70. ^ Flyer & posters 1991 Mediathek Köpenick
  71. ^ Memorial
  72. ^ KunstKaos
  73. ^ Stones of the earth
  74. ^ Exhibitions & releases
  75. ^ Camera obscura
  76. ^ Flyer & posters 2002 Köpfe & Abstraktionen
  77. ^ AH 007
  78. ^ Exhibition so nah...weit fern
  79. ^ Playlist performances

External links[edit]