From August 13th – November 9th the German-American artist Stefan Roloff shows his installation Beyond the Wall at Berlin's West Side Gallery. It combines footage-stills from the old border area with silhouetted portraits of former citizens of the GDR. The panorama stretches over 229 meters across the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall. With a technique specially developed for this exhibition the video stills were blown up to the wall's height, creating an effect that appears painterly up close but turns photorealistic from a distance.
Roloff, a pioneer in digital photo- and video- art was born in West-Berlin's American occupation zone, surrounded by the wall. In 1984 he filmed the kafkaesque daily life inside the wall's “death zone” throughout Berlin. In 2007, 18 years after the fall of the Wall, he started an archive of video portraits depicting former citizens of the GDR. Ulrike Poppe, a civil rights activist, Mario Röllig, a gay man imprisoned at Hohenschönhausen and Alexander Arnold, who endured forced labor for IKEA in a GDR jail are among them. A selection of six out of a larger series of video portraits is shown as largescale stills in the installation. They can be watched by accessing their links on a smartphone. For three months this open air installation will show how walls can shape people's lives for generations – even long after they have fallen.
Beyond the Wall is accompanied by two complementary events at Zwingli-Kirche. Civil rights activist Carola Stabe will hold panel discussions with those who were portrayed in the installation. They will talk about their personal experiences with the Wall, separation and escape.
Beyond the Wall is carried out by Kunst darf alles e.V. in cooperation with Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH. The installation is made possible by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa and the Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur. The side program is funded by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung and KulturRaum Zwingli-Kirche e.V. With the kind support of Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Gemeinschaft der Verfolgten des DDR-Regimes.