The artist Dmitri Vrubel, who has lived in Berlin since 1990 and was born in Moscow in 1960, has unjustly remained a one-hit wonder.

He became world famous with his “Brotherly Kiss” between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker, which he painted on the Berlin Wall in 1991 and renewed himself in 2009.

Not surprising, because Wrubel's iconic and ironic historical picture can be found in the East Side Gallery on the Spree between Berlin-Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, which was photographed to death by tourists.

To save his honour, it must be said: Hardly any other commentary on the fall of the GDR sums up the dilemma more succinctly in one picture.

Wrubel used a press photo of Régis Bossu on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the GDR in 1979 as a template for his kiss, just as Gerhard Richter does with contemporary historical material.

Stefan Trinks

Editor in the Feuilleton.

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With the difference, of course, that in “Bruderkiss” nothing is blurred by a mildew veil of history, as in the case of the judge, who was also socialized in the East, but rather is brought to life with shrill pop art colors that the original black and white photo does not have at all.

As a comment, Vrubel wrote the imploring sentence in Russian and German: "My God, help me to survive this deadly love".

The painter, who is extremely well versed in art history and a descendant of Mikhail Vrubel, the most important artist of Russian Black Romanticism, already drew on the toxicity of many a kiss in the composition of the picture: Edvard Munch's endless series "The Kiss" does not show a kiss in any of its many vampiric versions you wanted to experience for yourself.

The idea of ​​the fraternal kiss came to him, as Wrubel repeatedly stated, when he himself was torn between two women and thus two camps.

But then why the translation into a same-sex kiss?

There are many testimonies by the dictators Ceaușescu and Jaruzelski, both of whom shuddered at Honecker's wet lips.

The iconography of the Judas kiss also resonates, since the same Honecker, in his

annus horibilis

1989, had to kiss Gorbachev, whom he despised, which was based on reciprocity, the socialist fraternal kiss.

For Wrubel, art and politics were closely related due to their processual nature, and as a member of the Pirate Party he was involved in Berlin.

He wanted to use art to help in problem areas there such as Marzahn, an “Evangelical project”, as he called it, which the neglected young and toothless old representatives of the precariat, in turn, implemented in masterly painting based on photos and with quotations from the Bible, was only carried out in Moscow and Perm shown.

He was pronounced dead on Sunday after a long illness and coma.

The painter was only 62 years old.

Many of his projects remain unfinished, but his ambiguous kiss survives.