While studying at the Berlin Academy of Art from 1973 to 1979, Helmut Middendorf experimented with many different contemporary possibilities of creating art. In 1975 his works were still dominated by sharp-edged, stereometrical objects. In the late 1970s, at the suggestion of his teacher, Karl Horst Hödicke, the doyen of Berlin Neo-Expressionists, Middendorf turned to a subjective, pointedly representational style. Helmut Middendorf is regarded as one of the "Jungen Wilden", who propagate "vehement painting". Middendorf serially varies themes chosen from his immediate environment and personal experience in different color combinations. In vehement gesture and lurid color the artist catches the convulsive movements of dancers at the "SO 36" disco in Berlin-Kreuzberg or captures the pose of a rock singer on canvas, thus turning them into "modern icons".
In 1977 Helmut Middendorf and other students of Hödicke's founded the legendary "Galerie am Moritzplatz" in Berlin-Kreuzberg, which showed films, photos and perfomances as well as paintings, drawings and art objects. Since 1979 Middendorf has been teaching experimental film at the Berlin "Hochschule der Künste", a medium which he was working in alongside painting when he was still a student. A group exhibition entitled "Heftige Malerei" at "Berliner Haus am Waldsee" in early 1980, where his works were shown alongside pieces by Rainer Fetting, Salomé and Bernd Zimmer, made Middendorf famous overnight. A scholarship from the "Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst" in the same year enabled Helmut Middendorf to go to New York.
In his later works, the immediate dismay, combined with the simultaneous projection of desires, which marked Middendorf's work on the day-to-day realities in Berlin and New York, gave way to greater emotional serenity. By reducing his palette and ultimately turning to new subject matters, Helmut Middendorf returned to a state of experimental receptivity.
The "black pictures", which he painted in the late 1980s, were reflections on his own life, his position as an artist and signal a new departure.
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