“For love” is Markus Draper’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. With his new series of paintings, he goes back over a subject he had already tackled in 2006, and on the work he had then created from this subject.
His project entitled “Skulpturenkino: House of Darkness” was inspired by the terrible story that had upset the United Kingdom in 1994: Fred and Rosemary West’s crimes in Gloucester. Beyond the fear and the morbid fascination caused by this story, Markus Draper specifically reflected by the 3 years later demolition of the house that the media called “the house of horror.” Indeed, Draper first learned about the case by seeing the plan of the house in a British newspaper, that also reproduced a photograph of the enigmatic inscription “for love” engraved on a wall in the cellar. He built a model of the house based on this plan to present inside a video, in which he slowly had sprinkled another model with paint to cover it all. Aside from staging awfulness, he also questioned the demolition decided by the British authorities: is it possible to “erase” horror through demolishing the places where it had occurred? *
In the past 3 years Markus Draper has focused his practice on painting, finding in it the opportunity to review his previous works and to give a new interpretation of them. In 2006, the opposition between the macabre inspiration of “Skulpturenkino: House of Darkness” and the apparent banality of this film set in which the visitor was invited to enter, as well as the words chanted by the artist in the video while smearing the model, raised a laugh … a laugh of farce, sarcastic and cathartic. None of this in the paintings, beautiful and terrible at once. These are actually the pictorial transcription of photos of the with paint covered model made by the artist a long after the performance. Although they are archival documents, these very subjective views flatten and distort the perspective; they render the house unreal and so already give another meaning to “what happened.” But painting goes further and adds depth and materiality: it makes the dripping walls mysterious and fascinating. Tangled red, yellow and black lines, very sharp designed, look like ligaments or creepers shaping a microscopic organism or woods that one could go through… Draper’s 2015 paintings do not directly refer to Gloucester’s case but to his 2006 work. They are so the abstractions of an abstraction, and by sublimating the unspeakable, finally offer a way out.
More information about the work “Skulpturenkino: House of Darkness”:
– Jan Verwoert, “Fear and pleasure, in Markus Draper, Unbekanntes Konto”, Sparkasse Essen 2007
– “Surviving Chaos, Markus Draper in conversation with Sven Drühl, in Markus Draper, Fire Beats”, Vattenfall, Cottbus