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Image Analysis (Opinion): Cafe Deutschland 1, Jörg Immendorf

Cafe Deutschland I is the first in a series of sixteen paintings by Jörg Immendorf in which the differing ideologies of East and West Germany are juxtaposed.

The titular cafe is metaphorical, though based on the cafe and cabaret culture of Berlin. Two totem poles rise up prominently at the front of the painting on the left and right. The totem pole on the right is grey and depicts people holding it up as well as skulls. This suggests to me rural labourers supporting more decadent nightclub lifestyle as well as the mountains of bodies created by The Final Solution. The people on the right are also being spied on from above, suggestive of the Stasi and telltale culture encouraged in the GDR. At the back of the club there are semi-naked women that can be understood to be prostitutes.

On the left, the figure on the brown totem pole is holding a ukelele, which would symbolise frivolity to me, however it is also gagged: perhaps symbolising the suppression of joy. Above that there is an eagl…

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