The artist Günther Finneisen spent many years of his life in prison and also started drawing there. Now he has his first exhibition. His caricatures and images are minimalist and sometimes disturbing.

The left-wing MP Hendrikje Klein shows some drawings in her constituency office at Alfred-Kowalke-Straße 14 under the title “Privacy. Drawn from prison”. Finneisen sees his works as a survival valve, as the last chance to express yourself freely. According to his own statements, he is in prison for planning a crime.

Finneisen was first “behind bars” at the age of 16 for stealing a car. He has broken out of prisons in Hanover, Linken and Celle several times, and at times went into hiding in South Africa, France, the Netherlands and Spain – but was always caught.

In 1995 he took a prison guard hostage for three days in Celle prison – a special task force overpowered him. He then remained in solitary confinement for 16 years. He called it “buried alive”. When he was released a year later, he moved to Berlin and was soon imprisoned again. The information board in the exhibition does not mention which crime he is said to have planned.

Finneisen is out once a month. However, he decided not to attend the vernissage. “As long as I can tell myself a joke and laugh about it, everything’s fine. Have a beer for me,” he left as a message. Klein told the Tagesspiegel that they had long discussed whether they should do this exhibition.

“For a person like Günther Finneisen, who had to spend many years of his life not only in prison but in total isolation there, the pictures, sketches and drawings are a survival valve, until today.”

Justice Senator Lena Kreck also attended the opening. “It’s not just people who are incarcerated for serious crimes,” she said. “Of course, prisoners are still a part of society, they are people.”