Information, mid 1970s

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Original typewriting, 10.5 × 12 cm, 27.6 × 28.8 cm

Starting in the early 1970s, the artist created, what she called, series of “typewritings” by combining Teutonic rigor with a subversive sense of humor. Under her fingers, the black and red characters of an Erika Schreibmaschine became patterns, butterflies, waves, abstract compositions, diagrams of fluxes, woven lines of poetry, with titles like be but be aware not to be a ware (ca. 1970–75), Introverse Extroverse (1975), Try and Error (1975), Defeat/Victory (ca. 1970s), Cages on the Run (ca. 1980s). Employed as an office manager, and working as a self-taught artist under a regime of strict surveillance, it was only by turning herself into a typist – a stereotypical female job – that she could dictate the content of her pages. Zyncographic copies of these original motifs would later leave the walled perimeter of East Berlin and travel the world as part of the Mail Art movement.