Graffitical Archeology
From 1972 on, I paid intermittent visits to Berlin, one of the most fascinating cities where I can easily find my way around, with its sprawling circumference and intense weight of history.
When I wandered past an old fragment of the official Wall a few years ago, I saw for the first time how some parts were covered in dozens of layers of spray-painted graffiti, eroded irregularly by wind and weather. I captured as much as I could on film and went back the next day with an even better camera to satisfy my craving for images. I realized only later, without knowing exactly why, that I had discovered a place in the world where something truly exceptional was happening. It felt like a revelation, a sudden and simultaneous glimpse into the past and future at once. This must be how an archeologist feels when stumbling across an unexpectedly significant discovery!

The size of a spot of most of the photos is no larger than a standard sheet of printer paper. Spray paint is tough stuff to work with; sometimes it dries very quickly, while other applications seem to take forever to set. Sun, wind and rain create the worst possible conditions for keeping paint intact, but that’s perfect for an Urban Work of Art! Thick crusts created by many layers of paint could sometimes be pulled right off the wall with some difficulty. The removal revealed older layers that were more firmly attached to the concrete and had their own unique character.
It is an intriguing thought to realize that hundreds of artists have created their works of art on the same spot, only to leave them again. The exceptional status of this 150-yard stretch of wall provides a powerful story, leading to massive spray density unlikely to be achieved at many other locations around the globe.

In the city that stands so strongly for freedom, precisely because its history holds the most horrible attacks on fundamental liberties, this is a place where freedom can truly be celebrated every day by anyone who can paint their own freedom flag. Flying freely, flag layered over flag, the colorful images wave in the figurative wind. In their brief lives, sun and rain meld them together into a new, massively layered work of art through which glimpses occasionally rise to the surface. At those moments, you look straight through all the layers down to the pale gray, pre-1989 concrete and see how what once marked a horrific separation between people can become a canvas that brings everyone together again.

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