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02.06.2010

 

Observations of a border crosser - Hans W. Mendes' Grenzarchiv West-Berlin 1978/1979

To the majority of West-Berlin's citizens, the wall was not a big issue in 1978. The grim reality of the urban border, a stupefying situation to this day, had become part of everyday life, as self-evident as the Kurfürstendamm or the Philharmonie, the admonishing Gedächtniskirche or the red light district and drug scene at Bahnhof Zoo.

With his 160 km long border patrol, Hans W. Mende portrayed the wall, frontier zones and first and foremost the development of urban areas in proximity to the border – composed, panoramic, featuring his typically precise eye for relationships and details.

Today, the wall is a thing of the past and resurfaces only as a subject of memorial days or is commercially available in the form of souvenir fragments in every one of the city's tourist shops.

The wall has almost completely vanished from the cityscape, as well as from the conscience of Europe's flashiest city's recently immigrated inhabitants.

Whoever decides to pay the city on the banks of the Spree a visit today, will hardly be able to imagine the atmosphere that is emitted by the pictures that depict what had once been many dark years for many people.

In the changed context of contemporary Berlin, Hans W. Mendes' revision becomes an exciting means of historical contemplation in the form of a unique border archive.


Hans W. Mende -
Grenzarchiv West-Berlin 1978/1979

feat. An essay by Ulrike Schuster
published by Peperoni Books
176 Pages
ISBN 978-3-941825-02-4
36 Euro