Art Exhibitions as Instruments for Cultural Diplomacy Between Russia and Germany

  • Abstract:
    The proposed paper intends to analyse West German and Soviet/Russian cultural relations based on art exhibitions. The aim is to show ways in which art is used as the means of diplomacy to pursue political, social and economic interests. By the beginning of the 20th century, Germany and Russia were already cooperating on many levels. In the twenties many Russian intellectuals lived in Berlin and important mutual exhibitions were also held at that time. Such exhibition projects never base solely on the initiative of private individuals – they are always a political issue. A close examination of the general framework can provide a clear picture as to why and for which party an exhibition was of interest in the given time period. An exchange of art takes place in order to build up contacts and relationships, or to convey a certain image of oneself. Projects that were initiated and supported by economic enterprises and political leaders may serve as examples. With the growing importance of corporate identity, the commitment to cultural events grew. In my paper I want to examine the period 1950-2010 referring to influential exhibitions which were partly shown in West Germany and in Russia. With this research I try to figure out different strategies of self-representation of states with different political terms during a long period, how and whether these strategies develop and finally if they worked out. Germany and Russia were both associated and apart from each other for a long time. Given that it is interesting to see how the first exhibitions tried to show the concerned country from its best side.