Bert Papenfuß (1956) grew up in the German Democratic Republic where he was trained as a sound and lighting technician. After military service he moved to Berlin in 1976, where he made a living at a theatre and developed into an active member of the Prenzlauer Berg literary scene. Papenfuß co-owned the Kaffee Burger club for 10 years and ran his Rumbalotte Continua cultural café until 2015, when he decided to close the premises as a result of the intensifying gentrification of Prenzlauer Berg. The irrepressible Bert Papenfuß was awarded several literary prizes, has been published widely in Germany and has been on the editorial board of a number of cultural magazines, among others Sklaven, Gegner and Abwärts!. Last year Moloko Plus from Schönebeck published Papenfuß’s Abriß!, no doubt one of the author’s most comprehensive works so far.
“The whole thing is basically describing my view on politics, humour and other important things like the conspiracy of mankind against humanity and emancipation by education, evolution, revolution (two steps forward but no more than one back) and anarchy … etc.”, writes Bert Papenfuß about his labyrinthine opus Abriß! (Demolition), published by Moloko Plus in 2019. “Maybe the most important part of the book is the ‘Glossary'”, Papenfuß continues, “I wrote it because by the end of 2018 there was still time for Abriß! to go into print and I wanted to explain some of the frequently used words in the book. Doing so I got carried away a bit and wrote more and more, including a couple of short poems. I have continued to write on the glossary since, some continuations were published in our journal “Abwärts!”, more are to follow. Other writers are invited to join in.”
‘The opening chapter ”Grundsturz” and the third chapter “Rundumschlag”, Papenfuß explains, ‘could be described as parts of a sci-fi novel, including essayistic streams on various matters and a couple of poems, which explain some aspects of the prose text or lead the reader further. I could have called it “autobiographical (anarchist) spacerock in prose and poetry” or an “autofictional novel”, but chose the genre “reports” instead, because everything described is “true” in a personal, psychonautical sense. For instance “The Story of Pil” in the chapter “Rundumschlag”. It is the story of a (fictional) transhuman experimental band, whose members I knew very well back then. “Gremiumsplenum” is a chamber play about a meeting of three members of the “Rote Ruhr Armee” (a faction of “Bewegung 2. Juni”), involving my friend Norbert “Knofo” Kröcher (1950-2016), whose autobiography I edited and published in 2017. The text uses the stylistic device of anagrams a lot. My texts use wordplays, puns, tons of humour and various formalistic methods in general.‘
Abriß!, beautifully designed by Ralph Gabriel, is illustrated with photos of East-Berlin in the 1980s by Papenfuß’s friend Hartmut “Tex” Köppen and drawings by his wife Mareile Fellien, which sometimes also function as comments on the texts. ‘Abriß!’ is a complex and playful string of reports from Berlin, in which fact and fiction form a powerful compound that blows up gently in your face when you open the book.