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4 - In the shadow of the Wall

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  A giant palimpsest

The Wall had a powerful influence on the arts, especially literature (Uwe Johnson, Zwei Ansichten ; Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper (Der Mauerspringer) ; Thorsten Becker, Surety (Die Bürgschaft) …), the cinema (Reinhard Hauff, Der Mann auf der Mauer, Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire…), songs (Wolf Biermann, David Bowie, Pink Floyd), comic strips (Gerhard Seyfried, Milo Manara). Building of the Wall took place while the Billy Wilder film One two three was being shot. And in  1962, East Germany brought out three films (Frank Vogel, …und deine Liebe auch ; Heinz Thiel, Der Kinnhaken ; Gerhard Klein, Sonntagsfahrer) that dealt with the subject head-on, in an attempt to justify the building of the " antifascist wall of protection ". But the Wall was not to become a collective art object until the eighties, a kind of gigantic fresco, endlessly started over again, a layered memory, a Baudelairean palimpsest.

In April 1984, Thierry Noir and Christophe Bouchet, two young French artists living near the Wall at Kreuzberg, began to cover it over with bright colours, working quickly as they were afraid of being questioned by the Vopos. They also made other artistic statements, such as screwing all kinds of unusual objects, inc a washbasin, door and shoes, into the Wall. Young Germans quickly followed suit, covering the Wall with graffiti.

When the Wall came down, these frescoes became coveted items. The East German firm of Limex, for example, sold 100 metres of Wall painted by the artist Kiddy Citny to the Modern Art Museum of New York for DM 500 000, bu the artist did not get a penny.

 

Influence on the arts
Influence on the arts

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