Bruno Schleinstein


Born 1932 close to Berlin – GERMANY. Died 2010 – GERMANY.

Bruno Schleinstein was born as an illegitimate child of a German mother and a Polish father. He spent his childhood in different orphanages and institutions from which he repeatedly tried to escape. 
In 1955 he was finally authorized to live out of hospital. That was the beginning of of wandering between shelters for homeless and charitable institutions. He earned his life as a worker. At that time he also learned to play accordion. Around 1965 he began creating his first drawings to illustrate the texts of his songs. From 1963 he worked as a transport driver, a job which he would keep for the next twenty-eight years. In his free time he walked around Berlin, singing in the backyards. A documentary film was shot about his life and the director Werner Herzog asked him to play the main role of Kasper Hauser in his feature film “Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle.” A role which seemed to have been written for him. Two years later, Schleinstein played the main role in another Herzog’s film “Stroszek, ” next to Eva Mattes.
Schleinstein’s life was narrated in another film, directed by Miron Zownir, shot in 1999 under the title “Die Fremde ist der Tod” (The Stranger is the Death).
Thanks to his grid technique, Schleinstein developed his own formal language. Most of his drawings are black and white. Human figures are pictured between effort and sadness. With incredible precision, Schleinstein sketches the traumatic memories of his mother, mixing violence and tenderness. He also represents the stories of jealousy and avarice, lies and deception, even murder. Sober observation and utopian desire are inextinguishably mixed together.

Find more about this artist