Hartwig Ebersbach is born in 1940 in Zwickau. He studies from 1959 to 1964 at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, and from 1961 participates in the class of advanced painting of Bernhard Heisig.
Eberbach’s paintings show the influence of Lovis Corinth and his teacher Bernhard Heisig through his use of broad overlapping brushstrokes. With the figures he throws on the canvas, who are kept in orgiastic red and flesh tones, we also see the East German genre canon of the history painting. In his first portraits (Selbstbildnis mit Barbara, 1960; Porträt Ibrahim H. I, 1962) and large format group pictures (Versuch einer Deutung, 1962) the affiliation with the aesthetic canon of the Leipzig Hochschule are clear. Changes toward a more self-determined and more hermetic expressive painting style can be seen in works such as Selbstbildnis mit Freunden (1965), leading Ebersbach to first collisions with the aesthetic course of those in power. Nonetheless he gains the full membership in the Association of Artists of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1968.
The ensuing period in his work is characterized through forms of aesthetic self-reflection, which Ebersbach experiences with »Kaspar«, his alter ego (Kaspar /Abwicklung eines Porträts I, 1973). He experiments with new forms of political art, uses Installations (Widmung an Chile, 1974; Antiimperialistische Solidarität, 1977) and initiatives with new and unusual means of presentation in the framework of conventional propaganda themes.
In 1978 Ebersbach joins the composer Friedrich Schenker and the »Gruppe Neue Musik Hanns Eisler« in Leipzig. Together they work on the action and music performance »MISSA NIGRA«, Ebersbach designs the stage in1979. »Missa Nigra« is performed in Italy and France in 1981. From1979 to 1983 Ebersbach assumes a teaching position at the Leipzig Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst. Here he teaches the special area »Experimentelle Kunst«. His work is shown for the first time in the West from 1980 on, first in galleries in Berlin, then in Altenburg and Stuttgart. He works in Leipzig from 1981 to 1983 together with the experimental »Gruppe 37,2«, which is under the directorship of his former student, the psychotherapist and concept artist, Hans Joachim Schulze. Ebersbach’s works are shown in the Düsseldorfer Kunsthalle in 1983 and in Munich in 1984.
After the fall of the wall Ebersbach becomes active in the debate surrounding the Freie Akademie der Künste in Leipzig and in 1992 he becomes a founding member. The same year he begins an intensive work phase in wood-cutting (Tor, 1992; Mappe Ahnen, 1991/92). After a trip to Africa Ebersbach devotes himself to sculptural works out of papier maché, in which he treats »African« motifs (Mama Africa 1993; Löffel, 1993; Arche Noah, 1995).
1996 he has a first large retrospective in Leipzig’s Museum der Bildenden Künste.
Hartwig Ebersbach lives and works in Leipzig.
Hartwig Ebersbach, Gemälde, Installationen, Plastiken: Ausst.-Kat. Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig, hg. v. Herwig Guratzsch, Ostfildern Ruit 1996
Hartwig Ebersbach, Malerei, Installation, Grafik: Ausst.-Kat. Kunsthalle Darmstadt u.a., Frankfurt/M. 1992