• Germany's news in English

Wall photo exhibition brings the West Bank to East Berlin

The Local · 14 Mar 2008, 14:39

Published: 14 Mar 2008 14:39 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Using a physical wall to divide people for political reasons is something to which most Berliners can certainly relate. But that hasn’t made one artist's proposed photography exhibition looking at border barriers around the world and their impact any less controversial in the German capital.

German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer wants to mount a 300-metre long exhibition of Israel’s wall cutting off the Palestinian West Bank on the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall.

The exhibition, called Wall on Wall, consists of 30 panoramic photographs of the Israeli security wall, but also includes images of the border barriers between the United States and Mexico and Northern Ireland’s religious communities.

“Border walls are not a solution to political problems,” said Wiedenhoefer. “The UN said border walls are illegal. People need to take notice of this.”

Wiedehhoefer is hoping to attach his striking images to the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall running along the Spree River, which was is now billed as the largest outdoor gallery in the world.

Members of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district’s Commission for Arts and Culture initially rejected Wiedenhoefer’s proposal, saying the content of the exhibition was too controversial. However, the district council now supports it, city officials said this week. The final approval is expected at the end of this month.

And the mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Frank Schulz, already has firm plans for Wall on Wall. “The exhibition will be on the river side of the East Side Gallery so that people can take their time looking at it,” he told The Local. “That way their view won’t be blocked by all the bus tourists.”

Wiedenhoefer’s exhibition has been specifically designed for the East Side Gallery to make the photographs accessible to a wider audience. Through Wall on Wall he intends to contrast the legacy of the Berlin Wall with current political conflicts that lead to the building of border barriers.

“The fall of the Berlin Wall was the only German revolution that ever worked,” Wiedenhoefer said. “And miraculously it was a peaceful one.”

The 42-year-old photographer, who studied communication design at the University of Essen, began documenting border barriers as the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989. Since then he has spent over a decade photographing the divided communities around the word, including Israeli security barriers around the Palestinian territories.

Story continues below…

The walls featured in Wiedenhoefer’s exhibition have been constructed with one similar intention in his opinion – to control people. The Berlin Wall was erected on 13 August, 1961 to stop people fleeing from communist East Germany to democratic West Berlin.

In Northern Ireland, the “Peace Lines” were built in the 1970s to separate Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast and other major towns to prevent sectarian violence. And along the 3,141-kilometre border between Mexico and the United States, a barrier attempts to keep Mexican immigrants from crossing into America in the search of work.

Wiedenhoefer photographs depict the effects of border walls on the communities on both sides of these barriers.

Wall on Wall will coincide with renovations to the East Side Gallery, which have been held up by a lack of funding. The district council is now awaiting a lottery grant to fund refurbishing efforts this spring.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd