A project realised together with Peter Krauskopf
Alte Handelsbörse

Old stock exchange

ehemaliges agra-Messegelände

Former agra exhibition site

Former Stasi headquarters in Leipzig

Ehemaliges Interhotel Merkur

Former Interhotel Merkur

Monument to the Battle of the Nations

Saxony Square

Mägdebrunnen fountain

Adler crossing

Former consumer goods house

Bayerischer Bahnhof crossing

Former central post office

Former central stadium

Former Museum of Fine Arts

Auerbachs Keller restaurant

Old exhibition site

St. Thomas Church


Gewandhaus concert hall

Former coffee house Riquet & Co.

Gohliser Schlößchen castle


Old town hall

Former Café Corso

Former City- skyscraper

Opera house


Central railway station

New town hall

Schiller house

Everything was run down: the car, Bernd, the sights – and into this grey squalor, we smeared the greed of these foreign buyers who appropriated our city. Photo. Photo.

The project 1990,- is an authentic example of the individual anarchic handling of the experience of the takeover or occupation at the time of the German reunification in 1990.


It’s said that the pivotal threshold year of 1990 in East Germany lasted from November 1989 to October 1990, from the opening of the border to reunification. But that’s not true. The clearance or ‘sale’ of the country began immediately after the borders had opened – and, strictly speaking, it reached its limits in March. The Treuhandanstalt (trust agency) was founded after the first and, at the same time, last democratic elections to the Volkskammer, the East German parliament, took place with the victory of the CDU-led ‘Alliance for Germany’. It had the residual values of the industrial enterprises at its disposal, 80 per cent of which were said not to be able to survive. If there were both positive and negative reports on future development, the negative one was usually applied – in other words, the company was shut down after a quick risk transfer through a symbolic sale. In general, we were not able to keep up because we had not been able to form capital. The gradual termination of working relationships broke up everyday life. Some were afraid of the threshold, others jumped over. According to estimates at the time, around one million people left East Germany in 1989/90, about six per cent of the population. An exodus threatened. In July 1990, the early end of the short freedom became evident: thanks to the monetary union, people now had the long-awaited currency in their hands and began to behave differently.

The workers were busy with survival, the intellectuals with The Third Path, and only the have-nots were lucky to have the sun shining out of their asses, because we enjoyed all the freedom we wanted. The threshold year of 1990 meant that the GDR heads of state had left, but a real connection to the FRG had not yet evolved. In a way, we felt stateless in a time of social transition. In my case, the days looked like this: I occupied an abandoned flat in Ernestistrasse in Leipzig-Connewitz, bolted a couple of skis across the open window casement, and painted pictures. A pair of thieves, Jürgen and Marion, moved in, fighting many scuffles. They once even stole pies. The only one of us who had a tenancy agreement was the early pensioner and drunkard, Bernd, who pretty soon didn’t have water, because Jürgen had torn the lead pipes from the wall and sold them as scrap metal after ‘Klemmi’ had clogged Bernd’s drainpipe with a revolting pea soup. (‘You don’t need any water if you don’t even have a drain.)


Krauskopf and I drove my white Ford Taunus 1.6 saloon down the flat steps to the Stichlingsteich in the park surrounding the Völkerschlachtdenkmal late at night; this was strictly forbidden. The lack of a clear answer to the violation of this law made me realise how much my inner personality still depended on the symbol of the state power that had so naturally let itself fade. The GDR had been my world for 23 years. Fascinated, I drove into the dark emptiness. A few lights shone from afar and pulled me out into this barbaric abundance of sudden absence. But I had to escape from myself, and I didn’t know how.

During the day, I had discovered a container with prostheses in front of an orthopaedic workshop. In the past, legs, arms and all kinds of the prosthetic replacements had been kept as health insurance property after death. Now there was no more room for old crutches and supports. That’s why seven wooden legs stuck out of my trunk. Seven legs, a car from the West, two nationless young friends, a dark battle monument: the slightly clouded moon shone above everything, we drank beer and slowly circled around the basin with its large mirror-smooth water surface, an absurd riddle and yet only knee-deep. The idea behind this project came to us, and suddenly we had the necessary strength to pursue it.

We saw icons of all the city sights on road signs placed across the city. Continuing this system, we extended it to other sites and sprayed signs with the necessary templates. This enjoyable undertaking actually became quite serius. We met up with Bernd wearing his best suit. And we drove directly to the sights in my Ford with a Stuttgart number plate. We made Bernd go out and hold the sign. Photo. Everything was run down: the car from the West, Bernd, our sights – and in this grey squalor, we smeared the greed of the foreign buyers who had appropriated our city. Photo. Photo.

Reunification was inevitable. But an indigenous development of the eastern federal states within the new framework was prevented by a hasty union. Experiences are buried, memories transformed. This inner arrangement with the GDR has nothing to do with nostalgia. The assessment of the institutional aspects of the GDR as an unjust state (not to mention, a criminal state with 733 deaths at the border) still remains. Yet the borders of the GDR can still be seen in numerous maps today; it even seems more prominently reflected now than several years ago. This is obvious proof, among other aspects, that German unification was not successful in the eyes of many.


Bux - Krauskopf

Reciprocal portraits