National Museum of Women in the Arts
Karla Woisnitza
1952 - present
Photograph of Karla Woisnitza, courtesy of the artist
Work Type/Media:
Books and manuscripts, Drawings and prints, Painting, Performance Art
Artistic Role(s):
Book Artist, Draftsperson, Etcher, Fresco Painter, Lithographer, Painter, Paper Artist, Performance Artist, Set Designer
Artist's Statement:
The idea of fabricating calendars as original graphic arts had been compelling me to create artists’ books as artifacts of running time, self expression, and an aesthetic statement. In the former German Democratic Republic, it was important to change the unique and intimate character of diaries into small editions for communication.

Born near Berlin, I was always in touch with nature, loved to draw and liked to learn. Art teachers promoted my troubles. Already by the 1960s, I took lessons in art by the artist E.S.T. Alex. While studying set-design at the Institute of Fine Arts Dresden, I continued experimental and classical techniques by Gunter Hornig, following the ideas of Bauhaus. There was always a lot of literature that I loved or was occupied with.

Together with friends, we prepared Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café, in Dresden. In Berlin, where I went with my little daughter in 1980, I performed Ilse Aichinger's Spiegelgeschichte in private rooms. During these times I started to create etchings, and also showed in my first exhibitions.

After the wall fell, my work became more successful. It then became possible to cross the narrow border for journeys and exhibitions. Getting the Berlin Academy of Arts Käthe Kollwitz Prize as well as the commission to figure seven big walls in the Berlin Hospital Rudolf Virchow and a visiting trip through the United States in 1996 brought confidence, acknowledgement and vivification in my art and life. I then retired in order to live more privately, recalling “things under the snow”. Now you can find numerous abstract drawings and paintings – also in fresco for ecclesiastical rooms. In recent years I started to exhibit and travel again, but my work in art is slow and concentrated.

Statement courtesy of Karla Woisnitza

Other Occupation(s):
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Institute of Fine Arts, Dresden, Germany (1973-1978)
Related Visual Artists:
student of E.S.T. Alex student of Gunter Hornig collaborated with Carson McCullers
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Käthe Kollwitz Prize, Berlin Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany (1994)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Book as Art VIII
Book as Art: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition
Artists on the Road: Travel as Source of Inspiration
Book as Art XII: Artists' Books from the Permanent Collection
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts