Titelseite der Zeitschrift Kultur und Mode, Sibylle
© Foto: Rudolf Schäfer Reprofoto: Werner Mahler

SIBYLLE 1956–1995. Magazine for Fashion and Culture

What women’s glossy magazine Brigitte is to modern Germany, SIBYLLE – Magazine for Fashion and Culture was to the GDR. With a circulation of just 200,000 per issue, and six issues a year from 1956 on, the magazine was a rare product and always sold out in no time. Its photographs and outstanding graphics played a key role in its impact, along with the articles on fashion, art, architecture and health.

  • DATES 28/04/2018—04/11/2018

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The dedicated photographers were not only masters of their craft, they also had explicit artistic ambitions for their work, giving the Vogue of the East a cosmopolitan charm. Starting at the end of April 2018, the exhibition "SIBYLLE 1956-1995. Magazine for Fashion and Culture" in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden's Kunstgewerbemuseum presents the magazine's main photographers: Sibylle Bergemann, Arno Fischer, Ute Mahler, Werner Mahler, Sven Marquardt, Elisabeth Meinke, Roger Melis, Hans Praefke, Günter Rössler, Rudolf Schäfer, Wolfgang Wandelt, Michael Weidt and Ulrich Wüst.

Titelbild der Modezeitschrift mit dem Portrait einer Frau
© Foto: Günter Rössler Reprofoto: Werner Mahler
Sibylle Titel 2/1964


After Rostock, Rüsselsheim and Cottbus, the exhibition developed by Kunsthalle Rostock will stop in the rooms of the Wasserpalais of Schloss Pillnitz. The Main Hall focuses on GDR fashion culture. The exhibition not only looks at this facet under cultural and historical aspects, it also gives a vivid impression of these fashions with designs, contemporary documents, drawings and costume jewellery produced in the GDR from the inventories of Stadtmuseum Berlin.

On the other hand, the rooms in the central wing of the Wasserpalais focus on the fashion photographs from SIBYLLE. Various images by the 13 photographers hang side-by-side here, ranging from classical fashion shoots in front of socialist city backdrops in Berlin, Budapest or Moscow, through travelogues from South-Eastern Europe, right up to experimental fashion photographs from the everyday lives and work in the GDR. A chronology of SIBYLLE issues featuring originals and reproduction documents the development the magazine underwent from the first issue in 1956 to the year of the political turn in 1989 and beyond.


programme of accompanying events

The programme of accompanying events for the exhibition offers fascinating Artist Talks with photographers Ute and Werner Mahler and Sven Marquardt. The Kunstgewerbemuseum is also taking a closer look at fashion culture in the GDR in cooperation with Technische Sammlungen. The institutions are jointly showing a series of films including the feature film "Modell Bianka" (Model Bianka) and the documentary "Kann denn Mode rot sein?" (Can fashion be red?) from 2002. At a two-day sewing workshop, hosted with Konglomerat e.V., participants can tailor new favourite garments based on patterns from SIBYLLE. In the Wohnzimmer bar in Dresden's Neustadt district, former models who posed for SIBYLLE will share personal stories from their lives as models in the GDR over cocktails made from original SIBYLLE recipes.

Find out more

© Foto: Rudolf Schäfer Reprofoto: Werner Mahler
Sibylle 1/1986


Hartmann Projects published a catalogue to accompany the exhibition. In addition to articles on the cultural and historical significance of SIBYLLE, it introduces the key photographers and their works with extensive collections of their images: published by Ute Mahler and Kunsthalle Rostock, 336 pages, roughly 570 illustrations, € 39.80, ISBN 978-3-96070-007-4.


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