Taking Stock of Power “An Other View of the Berlin Wall”
In our collective memory, the Berlin Wall is a monolithic concrete barrier, but back in 1966 it was a motley ensemble of the walls of buildings, concrete and cement slabs, and barbed-wire mesh. Photographer Arwed Messmer and author Annett Gröschner have embarked on a long-term project on this early Berlin Wall, based on thousands of historical photographs taken by East German border troops. Their first award-winning book presented the inner-city border strip. In 2012 they came across another extensive collection of hitherto unknown photographs. In a new two-volume edition with around seven hundred panoramas compiled from three thousand single images, Messmer and Gröschner now present the entire circumference of the Wall around West Berlin. The panoramas are supplemented by additional material from the German Federal Archives. This completes a project of documentary empathy (Florian Ebner), which photo critic Gerry Badger saw as transforming the interpretation of historical facts into a work of art in a creative act.