Ottersbach. Bilder aus dem Proberaum

Images from the Rehearsal Studio. Works from the Early 80s

Postmodernist debates and »anything goes« set the tone for art in the early 1980s. Form, design and attitude are being called for, mostly in combination with a certain playfulness. Cold War, the resolution to deploy new arms, ideological incrustation and Helmut Kohl are the order of the day. Yet its is also the time of post-punk, New German Wave, the anti-nuclear movement and an ubiquitous »no future« attitude. An article in the newspaper »Die Zeit« notes in bewilderment that Cologne is on a par with New York in its importance for the art scene. In cologne, Heribert C. Ottersbach, still young at the time, practices his debut as a painter in this setting.

In 1981, the former industrial site of the Cologne chocolate factory Stollwerck is occupied. Young artists, musicians, theater people, and writers, as well as Ottersbach from 1982 to 1987, set up their studios in the old industrial halls. Some, like Ottersbach himself, are still students and make a name for themselves in later years. Stollwerck quickly establishes itself as a highly regarded autonomous cultural center.

Through a permanent examination of other avenues for artistic work and his preoccupation with the emerging »new media«, Ottersbach explores the conditions and possibilities of painting, a medium that has long lost its sovereignty over the image. The disruptions and continuities of his own biography and his keen interest in politics and history define his work from the outset.

The early work of Heribert C. Ottersbach documented in this book reveals approaches in his creative artistic thinking and actions that are still of great importance for his work today.

Karin Thomas, chief art editor of the DuMont publishing house until 2003, has been aware of the artist’s work since the beginning. Numerous illustrations and contemporary documents supplement the author's knowledgeable text.



Artist: Heribert C. Ottersbach
Editor: Michael Beck, Ute Eggeling
Text: Karin Thomas, Heribert C. Ottersbach
Design: Reschke, Steffens & Kruse


German, English
Softcover, 24 x 17 cm
132 pages, 57 illustrations


Available works of the artist

Heribert C. Ottersbach, Vor der Garage, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Vor der Garage, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Tropenschatz, Handelsgold und Fehlfarben, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Tropenschatz, Handelsgold und Fehlfarben, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Wartestelle (2), 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Wartestelle (2), 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Kaugummi und Erdnüsse, dazu gerne Solei, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Kaugummi und Erdnüsse, dazu gerne Solei, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Memoria ‒ No Threat, 2017/18, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Trollsjön, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Reloaded, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Im Haus des Großvaters, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Am Nachmittag, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Der Besuch der Eltern, 2019, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, sommerfest und abgelegen, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Ausflug mit dem Vater, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Kein Zug fährt vorbei, 2018, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Nebensache (2), 2017, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Nebensache (1), 2017/18, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Wallpaper (Detail), 2017, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Irgendwo (Torp), 2016-18, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Morandi (from the series "Signatur mit Bild"), 2015, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Bedingungen und Möglichkeiten (Stillleben) N°2, 2015, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Wohnung 2, 2014, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Fake/Original, 2014, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, No Trespassing, 2011, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, B.M. (from the series "Icons"), 2012, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Nach der Räumung (2), 2012, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Veteranen, 2011, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Ausflug nach Vrena, 2011, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, o.T. (Park), 2011, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, o.T. (Die Zeit), 2009, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, o.T. (Mondrian schaut auf die Moderne), 1996, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, untitled, 1993, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, Horror Vacui, 1985, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, o.T. (Moderne+Idylle), 2003, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Heribert C. Ottersbach, o. T., 1995, © H.C. Ottersbach + VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Associated exhibition

Ottersbach. Images from the Rehearsal Room

Ottersbach. Images from the Rehearsal Room

Dusseldorf / 7 September – 26 October 2013

Postmodernist debates and »anything goes« set the tone for art in the early 1980s. Form, design and attitude are being called for, mostly in combination with a certain playfulness. Cold War,the...

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