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Obituary for Longest F. Stein



Eye test with announcement.

Obituary for Longest Frank Stein

Treptow, East Berlin, in June 1988, we installed my personal exhibition in the "Galerie im Kreiskulturhaus Treptow". Longest had already been organising exhibitions and events there for a few years. Initially as a volunteer, later as an employee. He was constantly driven by his instinct for eye-catching and unwieldy talents. As a result, he became an institution for painting and, above all, photography, which did not at all fit in with the socially realistic ideas of state cultural functionaries and was constantly subject to their suspicion. He risked a balancing act every time. He and the house enjoyed scene cult status and became a focal point for obsessed and driven activists of all ages.

The two of us laboured for four days to set up the exhibition. Always from the morning until late in the afternoon. Longest took a lot of time to place the pictures in the two medium-sized rooms. We listened to canned music for inspiration. Specifically that of the American experimental rock band "PERE UBU", which named itself after the main character of Alfred Jarry's famous absurdist theatre play. So their mastermind and singer David Thomas croaked to weird sounds in an endless loop for hours. Somehow this fitted in with my experimental photographic work, the light trails. "The nice thing is that everyone can make up their own mind about your pictures," commented Longest. And he continued: "I'm looking forward to the cultural commission's reaction. There's a meeting in here next week," he continued with a sly smile. Then he handed me the contract form for the exhibition fee to fill in. Then the opening. Shortly after the laudatory speech and musical accompaniment, a powerful summer thunderstorm erupted outside. "Wonderful. It couldn't have been better," was Longest's comment. While the usual mixed drinks were on offer. Coke with and without. He strolled happily through the audience, visibly enjoying the evening and at some point seemed much taller to me than he was. From that point on, I thought I knew why he had his nickname.

Over the years, we stayed in standby contact and sent each other invitation cards for our latest projects. When there was time, we visited each other.

With or without an occasion. Or I became part of one of his group shows. He always celebrated them as usual.

And brought together temperaments and arts of all kinds. That's what made it so special. His circle of like-minded people was constantly expanding. His communicative, endless home evenings became legendary. The great performances of the bustling impresario with the sweeping hat are already timeless. Since 16 November 2023, another dimension has been added.

Claus Bach, Weimar, February 2024


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