Aldona Gustas

Foto: Dietmar Bührer

Aldona Gustas was born in 1932 in Karceviskiu, Lithuania. She had to flee during World War II and came to Berlin (West) in 1949. She has been working here as a writer since 1957, and as a a painter and graphic artist since 1970.

Female identity, eroticism and sensuality represent central themes in the lyrical and pictorial works by Aldona Gustas, which she has also combined in numerous publications. According to Olav Münzberg, spontaneity, brevity and simplicity are her basic constructive principles – in both her literary and visual works. Many of her speech-images are populated with paradoxes. As androgynous figures with the curves of their bodies transformed into fish or birds.
In 2017 her most recent volume of poems Zeit zeitigt was published by Corvinus Presse in an exclusive manual print-run. Currently an exhibition with 30 drawings, Aldona Gustas und die MUNDFRAUEN (Women’s Voices) - is travelling through museums and libraries in Lithuania for 2 years, organized by Browse Gallery and funded by Goethe-Institute Lithuania.

Apart of her own works Aldona Gustas contributed largely to post-war German art and culture when she founded Berliner Malerpoeten - Berlin Painter-Poets in West-Berlin in 1972 and organized international exhibitions for the group.
Lithuanian born Aldona Gustas also provided the opportunity to link an exhibition of Berliner Malerpoeten and six contemporary (female) Lithuanian artists in a common show entitled Oxymora, as part of Lithuania’s Presentation as Guest of Honor at the 2017 Leipzig Book Fair.

Aldona Gustas was born in 1932 in Karceviskiu, Lithuania. She had to flee during World War II and came to Berlin in 1949, where she has lived in the western part of the city ever since. She has been a writer since 1957, and a painter and graphic artist since 1970.

During the late 1950s and '60s, Aldona Gustas was part of the artist and literary scene in West Berlin and Kreuzberg, where she befriended artistic personalities such as Günter Grass, Günter Bruno Fuchs and Robert Wolfgang Schnell. The desire to combine these contacts with her own interests in literature and painting led her to found the Berliner Malerpoeten (Berlin Painter-Poets) in 1972. She went on to curate exhibitions and publish anthologies for this group of 14 painting-writers and writing-painters. And it was thanks to her efforts that the Berlin Painter-Poets became known internationally as well.

As a poet, Aldona Gustas has had her works published in several dozen volumes of poems in small-run bibliophile publishers, and especially by the Eremiten-Presse publishing house with its own publishing editor, V.O. Stomps. Her works have been recorded on sound and translated into Lithuanian, Polish, Spanish and French, among others. In 2017 her most recent volume of poems Zeit zeitigt was published by Corvinus Presse in an exclusive manual print-run, with 250 signed copies.

Female identity, eroticism and sensuality represent central themes in the lyrical and pictorial works by Aldona Gustas, which she has also combined in numerous publications, such as Symbiosefrauen (1993) Sphinxfrauen (1999), or Würfelwörter (2013).

According to Olav Münzberg, spontaneity, brevity and simplicity are her basic constructive principles – in both her literary and visual works. With her being playful and chimerical at times, and punctuated with the laconic at other times, as she draws the lines and pens the words on paper. And many of her speech-images are populated with paradoxes. As androgynous figures with the curves of their bodies transformed into fish or birds. And with dissolved female sexuality and a subjective artistic expression representing the locations of freedom:  Asyl im Geschlecht (1990). Asyl im Gedicht (2001). She makes frequent use of oxymora, and that consummately in her poetry.

PUBLICATIONS  (SELECTION)
Nachtstrassen, Gedichte (1962, Eremitenpresse). Grasdeuter, Gedichte (1962, Eremitenpresse). Frankierter Morgenhimmel, Gedichte (1975, Eremitenpresse). Puppenruhe (1977, Eremitenpresse). Sogar den Himmel teilten wir (1981, Eremitenpresse). Symbiosefrauen (1996, Corvinus Presse). Jetzt, Gedichte und Zeichnungen (1997, Corvinus Presse). Sonnenzyklus, Gedichte (1997, Corvinus Presse). Sphinxfrauen, Texte und Zeichnungen (1999, Corvinus Presse). Asyl im Gedicht (2001, Eremiten Presse). Berliner Tagebuch (2006, Eremiten Presse). Untoter, Gedichte (2011, Corvinus Presse). Würfelwörter, Gedichte (2013, Corvinus Presse).

AWARDS
1997 Rahel Varnhagen von Ense-Medaille
1999 Bundesverdienstkreuz
2006 Medaille des Verdienstordens der Republik Litauen  /
Order of Merit of the Republic of Lithuania.

Since the 1970s Aldona Gustas' works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions i.e. in the Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung and with Berliner Malerpoeten in 1982 and 1992 in Berlin Tempelhof as well as during numerous exhibitions which she orgaized for the group in Western European and Latin American countries, which made the Berliner Malerpoeten internationally known.

2002 Haus am Kleistpark in Berlin presented an extensive Aldona Gustas retrospective of works created 1972-2002.

2014 Browse Gallery Berlin was able to win Aldona Gustas over for 2 exhibition projects:  Berliner Malerpoeten (Pulsierendes Leben - Pulsierender Tod) - 50 years after the first exhibition of the group and pursueing a solo presentation of drawings from her series Mundfrauen (Women's Voices) - both realized as part of Browse Gallery's exhibition cycle Inside Out I - Die Kreuzberger Bohème der 50er - 70er Jahre.

Following these exhibitions Aldona Gustas work as a graphic artist has attracted considerable attention in Germany and also in her old home country Lithuania.

RECENT AND CURRENT ARTWORK PRESENTATIONS

2017
Oxymora
, Berliner Malerpoeten (Berlin Painter-Poets) and contemporary Lithuanian artists, Baumwollspinnerei Leipzig

Continuation of the travelling exhibition Aldona Gustas und die MUNDFRAUEN through Lithuania.
Next stop: NathionalLibrary, Nacionaline Martyno Mazvydo Biblioteka, Vilnius, 11. - 30.4.2017

2016
Start of travelling exhibition Aldona Gustas und die MUNDFRAUEN (Women’s Voices) - for two years through museums and libraries in Lithuania. So far at: Maironis-Museum, Kaunas, Frederick Bajoraitis Public Library, Silute and Leva-Simonaityte district library, Klaipėda

Aldona Gustas, Motive aus der Serie Mundfrauen, Bilder aus der Schenkung Aldona Gustas und Browse Gallery an die Stadt Wiesbaden, Rathaus Wiesbaden
Berliner Malerpoeten - Pulsierendes Leben - Pulsierender Tod, Rathaus Wiesbaden, Kooperationsprojekt der Browse Gallery Berlin mit dem Partnerschaftsverein Wiesbaden - Berlin-Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg e.V. und der Stadt Wiesbaden
Aldona Gustas, I am We, M. Žilinskas Art Gallery, Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Kaunas, Litauen

2015
Aldona Gustas – I am a Part of Nature, Zeichnungen, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Litauen

2014
Aldona Gustas - Mundfrauen
, Browse Gallery, Berlin
Berliner Malerpoeten – Pulsierendes Leben. Pulsierender Tod“, Browse Gallery, Berlin

MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS

Graphic art and paintings by Aldona Gustas have been in cluded in collections of
Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg-Museum, Berlin and of the City of Wiesbaden in the years 2015 and 2016, other works are part of private collections.

  

  

   

  

 

 

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