Berlin Voids: 25 years after the wall
As 2014 marks the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Paul Raftery unveils his latest project ‘Berlin Voids’ – a documentation of the powerful spaces that have emerged since the wall was breached by East German protesters in November 1989.
Raftery’s evocative photographs focus as much on what is not there as they do on what is. As an established architectural photographer and artist, his skill is evident as the intriguingly beautiful compositions encompass the extremes between the radically altered urban renovation of Potsdammer Platz to the scarcely changed rural areas of Hennigsdorf. The physical landscape captured as it traverses a 100 mile path around the city, never forgetting the difficult history the spaces represent.
The photographs, as well as charting a physical landscape, are also a journey showing how German society has changed since reunification in 1990. Some of the former death strips have become prime commercial real estate, housing or leisure areas, others remain undeveloped wasteland. Raftery says, “Since my first visit in 1980, I have always been fascinated by Berlin and its history. Photographing the void where the wall used to be is a powerful way of thinking about the impact of a scar that lasted 28 years”.
As we approach a time when the wall will have been down for as long as it stood, 25 years after jubilant east German protesters breached this historic barrier, it seems a fitting time to celebrate and remind ourselves of the iconic power this structure held in history. On public display for the first time, and currently with no further plans to exhibit them, this is a rare opportunity to see Raftery’s thought provoking images.
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