Freitag, 9. Oktober 2009

Herrick & Eiffel: 20 Jahre Mauerfall

20 Jahre Mauerfall
Evan Herrick (Fotos) & Erika Eiffel (Mauermodell)

Eröffnung: Freitag, 09. Oktober 2009, 19 Uhr

Austellungsdauer: 09.10.09 - 30.10.09 / Mi - Fr 16 - 19 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

THE BERLIN WALL, 1983. The very existence of a construct like the Berlin Wall, while still standing, was a slap in the face to many Germans and others as well. Most left-thinking people, though, were never able to vilify it completely. It stood there all those years as if to say, “It is not enough for ideological divisions to exist merely in people’s heads. If these barriers are important enough, why not let them be real and cast in concrete. In this way, such divisions may become visible to all, lest anyone ever try and forget them.” The Wall was to remain standing and functional until the ideological differences between Germans were overcome and such inner divisions ceased to exist.

I came to Berlin for the first time in 1980 and moved here permanently in 1982. For me the Wall was the city’s defining landmark throughout the 1980s until its fall in 1989. One by-product of the Wall back then was that it created West Berlin’s “Insellage”, turning half of the city into an island surrounded by East Germany. It made West Berlin a slightly depressing place to live in, and at the same time, one of the most unique places in the world. Standing on one of the many observation platforms during the 1980s and looking out over the wall into no-man’s land, I could never help but feel a sense of awe and wonderment that such a thing could exist. For an impressionable young man coming from California, where the history of one’s own country was generally ignored, it was one reminder of how truly different other places were. The Wall for me, among other things, was a tribute to the power of ideology, more real and dangerous than any historical monument could ever be.

As we know now, even ideologies do not last forever. I tried to document one section of the Wall
between the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. One day it would all look different. It was an attempt to show how one stretch of the Wall looked on an autumn day in 1983 — the way the light fell on the concrete, and what people had written on it to help them come to terms with its existence.

The more recent pictures were taken in 1990, shortly before the Wall was torn down. The photo of Erika Eiffel, taken by Manuel Wilhelm, is from 2008.

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