50 years since the building of the Wall: Border Inspection – The 161 Kilometers of the Berlin Wall

A photo-documentary by Hans W. Mende

15. Juli – 1. September 2011

Freitag, 15. Juli 2011, 18.30 Uhr

Speaking at the opening:
Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss Aedes Berlin


Aedes Cooperation Partners


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Fifty years ago, the GDR erected a wall around West Berlin. But this is no ordinary anniversary - and certainly no grounds for celebration. Instead, it is an event which must be commemorated in a way that impels us to recall, to pause, and to reflect from the distance of a half-century.

The atmospheric black-and-white photographs of Hans W. Mende - who produced hundreds of images between 1978 and 1979 during his 161 kilometer-long tour of the boundary line marked out by the Wall - not only testify to a powerful artistic sensibility. They also bear striking witness to a historic event whose impact on contemporary society and wider implications were momentous and long-lasting – not only in Europe, but around the world.

With 27 original photographs and a slide presentation, the exhibition documents Mende’s survey of the Berlin Wall - a structure which has vanished entirely from the cityscape since being breached in 1989, ultimately triggering the reunification of the two Germanies.

Stimulated by a number of visits to secluded locations like the Glienicke Bridge, Mende developed his idea of surveying the entire perimeter. He did not proceed chronologically, although he planned from the very beginning to circumambulate all of what was then West Berlin. On foot, via bicycle, and by car, Hans W. Mende undertook his photo-tour with the intention, as he explains, “of documenting what this structure did to the city.”

Hans W. Mende: Grenzarchiv West-Berlin 1978/1979 was published in 2010 in collaboration with the publisher of Peperoni Books, Hannes Wanderer, who also participated in planning this exhibition. The volume will be available at the exhibition.


Diese Ausstellung wurde ermöglicht mit der großzügigen Unterstützung von: