“My painting in the East Side Gallery is quite heavy, quite chaotic – like the situation at the time”

Interview with Ralf Gründer, 1997

César Olhagaray was born in Santiago de Chile in 1951. He lives and works in Dresden and Santiago de Chile. His surrealist painting “Uhrmenschen der Computer” (Primeval clockwork computer people) of 1990 reflects his conflicting feelings about the Peaceful Revolution and its economic implications.

César Olhagaray in the interview

On his painting, the revolution and the Gallery's significance

"I am César Olhagaray, and you?"

"Sometimes pictures say more than words"

Olhagaray’s satirical, comic-book style painting highlights the problems caused by the fall of the Wall. In the centre are monster-like, consumerist creatures who have become alienated from their environment. On the left, “Easties” positioned between two walls, with skewered bananas on their concrete-block heads, avert their faces on turning necks. A Coke guzzling monster on the right stands for the “Westies”. The work is an appeal to confront rather than ignore problems and remember the importance of reasonable boundaries.

Olhagaray studied architecture at the Universität Católica de Chile. Imprisoned after the 1973 putsch in Chile, he fled in 1974 via France to East Germany, where he studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Dresden. He then studied art education at the Humboldt Universität in East Berlin and cultural work at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. He has painted murals in Santiago de Chile, Dresden, Bremen, Maputo, Paris, and London as well as in Berlin, and his work has been exhibited in several countries.


„Uhrmenschen der Computer“ is part of the online-tour: Year of Upheaval in 1990

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