Linde Hartmann studied painting in the 80s at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig with Prof. Heisig and Prof. Stelzmann.
Dissatisfied with the provincialism of the GDR and the progressive militarization of society, which she especially wanted to spare her son, who was born at that time, Linde Hartmann and her husband applied for emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1984. After four years of waiting, the application was unexpectedly granted and Linde Hartmann was able to leave the GDR with her family.
Linde Hartmann's works from 1983 to 1988 are an impressive document of an expressive personal confrontation with the imposed constraints and an attitude to life at the time of the incipient change in the GDR.
Linde Hartmann has lived and worked in Hamburg since 1988, and in the Mecklenburg village of Kukuk since 2023.
In her painting we find a return to the past and a view of nature as an antithesis to the mechanized urban environment.
Questions of perception, questions of appropriation and interpretation of reality and its processing by artistic means are becoming more and more obvious to a determining discourse.
And for all the questions that concern her, Linde Hartmann remains a painter who, in her curiosity and in her joy in the ever-new painterly discovery, refuses to follow currents of brand formations and reinvents herself again and again in her paintings.
Revolt - Painting as an attitude to life
The official art of the GDR in the 1980s was essentially shaped by the dogma of Socialist Realism. It was a routine, figurative painting whose task was to support and illustrate the state's ideological view of society.
Linde Hartmann's painting wants something different. Her answer to coercion and stagnation is an art that rubs up against circumstances, that works rebelliously, lustfully, and impulsively against narrowness. In her works she consciously and offensively breaks the learned rules, pushing with powerful gestures to the limits of their existence and beyond the boundaries of the format.
The dynamic and tension-filled complexity of Linde Hartmann's pictures is an exemplary reflection of a feeling for time in the GDR of the 1980s, a social mood in the field of tension between the claim to power of an ossified caste of political functionaries and the call for openness, democratization, and "glasnost”.
The title of one of the first paintings in which Linde Hartmann reveals her break with the painting style prescribed by the Leipzig Academy is therefore "Fear Not".
What follows is not a cautious search, but the direct expression, translated from the physical, of a powerful rebellion. The painting becomes the most immediate and compelling representation of a struggle and an upheaval that continues to captivate viewers to this day.
It is not easy to classify the entire oeuvre of Linde Hartmann and to place it in an art historical pigeonhole. A closer look reveals a broad spectrum of different painterly and artistic approaches.
The first realization is that change is the unifying factor. Linde Hartmann obviously resists the repetition of once-found solutions and thus the development of a standardized formal language in the sense of a brand.
An overarching element of her painting is a painterly ductus that transcends pictorial boundaries and is strongly characterized by a tension-filled approach to drawing.
In the coordinate system of painting, drawing and collage, a closer look reveals the underlying motivation of all works to express a time-bound attitude to life.
Beneath the surface of an intense and mostly expressive exploration of color and form, emotions, contradictions and configurations are inscribed, challenging the viewer to ever new interpretations of the work.
Ansgar van Zeul, 2002
Linde Hartmann calls a large part of her artistic production of the years 2007-2009 "Playing with the dog" and asks: How do I see, interpret and evaluate a living counterpart; what possibilities does painting offer for such an investigation?
Although we are always looking for something closed, uniform, reliable, fixed, convention, time and purposeful action constantly influence and change our perception.
In these works, Linde Hartmann deals with this conditionality of perception, with the various facets of seeing an opponent or a situation.
The dog is the medium of artistic investigation. As man's oldest animal companion, not a person but also not a thing, the dog can convey a distance and closeness that reflects the viewer and refers to his individuality.
In view of our ambivalence towards the animal, our view of the animal, which can be very diametrical depending on the point of view, which can alternate between great strangeness and deep familiarity, the question arises as to who and how we are.
Turned and turned, viewed from different angles and placed in different contexts, the formal language of the images changes again and again. In each case, it is indebted to the specific point of view.
Even the stock of forms that "Dog" invites us to play with is the starting point for a spectrum of different and simultaneous formulations.
All these different approaches question the fragile relationship between the objective, the subjective and the real. They always allow for new approaches and challenge us to question entrenched ways of seeing.
In this sense, "Playing with the Dog" is nothing less than a very personal offer to reflect on our view of the present.
Ansgar van Zeul, February 2009
"Lustwandeln" (Strolling), the almost forgotten art of leisurely and unintentional wandering through the landscape, is a metaphor for all the works shown here.
Speed and fixation often limit our perception, and questions of perception are a recurring theme for artist Linde Hartmann.
In Lustwandeln, space and time are decoupled, images appear and disappear. This kind of locomotion stands in stark contrast to the prevailing rhythm of our world, which is oriented toward efficiency and maximum output.
In Linde Hartmann's case, it may be the recurring view of a mahonia tree outside the window. It mixes at different times with equally different inner images and shows the manifold possibilities of perceiving the moment.
As if in an experimental arrangement, she juxtaposes image after image, always based on the same basic linear construction.
And a game begins: the evaluation of object and background, of surface and form.
Positive and negative forms change, as does the palette.
New chains of associations are formed. The picture is both starting point and projection surface.
Another aspect of Linde Hartmann's work is the complexity of seeing.
The image we form is not the result of an isolated optical process such as photography. We construct the world, and all sensual experiences are inscribed in our seeing.
Thus, in the large-format painting "Lustwandeln," which gives the group of works its title, we find figures strangely persistent in movement, each in an individual and at the same time stylized formulation between contemplation and expression.
A multitude of small forms spans the canvas like a second level. They overlap, swirl and shimmer, dance and tumble, alluding to the complexity of seeing.
These structures change the underlying color surfaces by entering into a relationship with them, subordinating them, but also charging them and enriching them with their energy. Through the intricate filigree overdrawings, time is very concretely inscribed in the painting process.
Lustwandeln is the title under which these paintings are grouped, but the inversion of this term also applies to the works: Wandellust.
The desire for change is the program in the work of Linde Hartmann. This pleasure in change, in playful transformation, is nourished by the joy of discovery in an artistic process and of bringing to light the multiplicity, but also the conditionality, of the possibilities of realization inherent in a subject.
In this way, we as viewers are constantly surprised and challenged to question entrenched ways of looking at things and to participate in the desire for change.
Ansgar van Zeul, April 2011