Mauer-Power: The back of the wall was colourful!

Berliner Mauer, Foto: Peter Joehnk

Mauer-Power: The back of the wall was colourful!

Graffiti, slogans, scenes photo exhibition by PIET JOEHNK

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the colourful graffiti that once adorned the west side of the approximately 160-kilometre-long structure gradually disappeared. During a business trip to West Berlin, scientist and photographer Piet Joehnk took photos of these works of art. His pictures can be seen now and until the end of the year under the title MAUER-POWER: DIE RÜCKSEITE DER MAUER WAR BUNT! in the cafeteria of the Bautzener Straße Memorial.

West Berlin, April 1986: It is rather by chance that the young photographer Piet Joehnk is driven to the Berlin Wall while walking through the cold. What he discovers there is still an unusual sight at the time. Colourful graffiti, saucy slogans and scenes - modern street art that adorns the other side of the "anti-fascist protective wall". The then 34-year-old pulls out his camera. He took pictures whose content would later become representative of the artistic confrontation with the Wall. Works by the important French Wall artist Christophe-Emmanuel Bouchet, who lived in Berlin from 1980 onwards, can also be seen in Joehnk's photos. He continues walking, many kilometres along the Wall, the colour film of his camera filling up. Not only artistic, but also political, and as he says, human messages captivate him. When he is finished, he holds a piece of contemporary history in his hands. One that no one was really interested in at first. Not even the artist. Instead, the photographs ended up in his archive and were only retrieved 20 years later. An enrichment, as Joehnk finds, because it is precisely such contemporary documents that drive the discourse. Especially young people who have no personal connection to the Wall and its history find a visual introduction to what it was like back then.

"Wall Power" are photographic remnants of the German-German past. Immortalised in a series of pictures and preserved for posterity, they bear witness to people who made the oppressive Wall shine in all its colours. Their art has long since disappeared, the Wall is history. Only Joehnk's photographs let it live on.

Piet Joehnk himself on the story of their creation.

The photographic works are exhibited in the foyer and on the 4th floor.