Wall-to-wall barriers from Belfast to Berlin
Panoramas featuring Belfast’s peace lines have been pasted on to a surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall
A visitor passes a photo of the Belfast peace lines in the Wall on Wall exhibition at the East Side Gallery section of the former Berlin Wall. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images
A little bit of Belfast has come to Berlin. The city’s peace lines feature on three of 36 giant panoramas of modern man-made barriers – pasted on to a surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall.
The images of Waterville Street, Bryson Street and a blazing Cupar Way by photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer are featured alongside desolate barriers dividing Cyprus, Israel, Iraq and Korea and the border area between the US and Mexico.
He said he hoped his exhibition would promote discussion about a “renaissance of walls” in the years since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
“Walls are no solution for today’s major political problems and I think the Berlin Wall is the best proof of that,” said Wiedenhöfer at the opening of the exhibition.
“The fall of the Berlin Wall was the best political event in my lifetime and we thought at the time, ‘That is over, we have a free world without walls’, but what you see here are walls that went up after 1989.”
Wiedenhöfer (47) took the photographs on more than 20 trips over the past decade. The final show, a temporary exhibit on the rear of the East Side Gallery stretching 364m, only came about after a five-year battle with Berlin authorities for permission.
The photographer’s project has been criticised for comparing barriers in often very different political situations around the world.
“In November I hung a portrait of the US wall in Mexico and an American came by and shouted at me, ‘You can’t compare this’,” said Wiedenhöfer.
“But for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a religious, national or economic conflict – the idea that you have a problem and you can solve it by building a wall has simply been obsolete since 1989.”
The Wall on Wall exhibition is open to the public until September 13th.