Markus Draper

House near a deep Forest

"House near a deep Forest“ (detail) , 2023, photo: Hans-Georg Gaul, Berlin

In Markus Draper’s exhibition House near a Big Forest, a fly tells the story of the KGB’s links to reform movements in the Soviet Union. The focus of the narrative lies on the building on Angelikastrasse 4 in Dresden that formerly housed the KGB headquarters. The address has become famous as the workplace of the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin.
Draper’s narrative starts in the mid-1950s with the career of Yuri Andropov (1914–1984), head of the KGB for many years and a central figure in the events of the Cold War. Andropov’s close ally since 1955, Vladimir Kryuchkov (1924–2007), visited the house in Angelikastrasse twice in 1986, when he served as deputy director of the KGB. He travelled to Dresden on behalf of Mikhail Gorbachev in order to win over decision-makers and intellectuals in the GDR for a reform movement in the country. Vladimir Putin worked in Dresden from 1985 to 1990.
Draper’s historical investigation, which unfolds on the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, aims to demonstrate that the changes and reforms in the late Soviet Union were closely connected to the KGB from the 1970s onwards. By doing so, it sheds light on the role its outpost in Dresden played in these activities from the mid-1980s onwards. At the same time, it is a reflection of the artist’s vision of Russia, which was shaped by his childhood and youth in the GDR, set against the background of the current situation.
Draper’s work adopts the narrative form of a fairy tale. Based on the assumption that truth is always a construct, the results of his historically accurate research are artistically reframed into a fairy tale. By juggling with historical facts, Draper attempts to construct an artistic truth on images that leaves room for ambivalence.
In Russia, a fairy tale does not begin with the plot, but with the storyteller. House near a Deep Forest is a reference to Draper’s former Russian teacher, who taught her class by reciting the novels of Tolstoy, Pushkin and Dostoyevsky from memory over countless hours. Taking its cue from Putin’s rhetoric, who once compared political opponents to ‘midges’, the role of the narrator in Draper’s work is assigned to a fly. Revisiting significant historical events in order to reveal and allow for ambivalences is a central concern in Draper’s work.

07.04. – 30.04.2023
Tue - Sun: 2 - 7pm
Admission free

7 – 10 pm