“Nothing is so bad that it does not also bear within it the seed of something good.” (Chinese saying). This saying Hermann Waldenburg prefaces his introducing essay for “The Berlin Wall Book”. And he tries to confirm this saying with his photos of the paintings on the Berlin Wall. He collected these photos and brought them together in one little book with a lot of pictures which was published 2012 by the Nicolai Verlag.
In the essay at the beginning of the book, Hermann Waldenburg narrates about his own experiences with the Berlin Wall and the different paintings you could find on it. The Wall seemed to be an ideal ground for emulsions and lacquers and as a 4.5 metre-high and 166 kilometre-long painting area it was unique in the whole wide world. Waldenburg himself started in 1984/85 with taking photos of the paintings on the wall. He found not only painted images, but also written statements. Many of these weren’t permanent; the images changed or were painted over. And so there were a continuous change. The Wall Art developed from meagre beginnings and reached its zenith between 1983 and 1986. During this time the Berlin Wall was a temporary museum.
“The Berlin Wall Book” is bilingual, the texts are in German and English, and at the end you find a chronology of the history of the Berlin Wall. So the photos of the Wall Art are embedded in the historical and political context and so many of the images are understandable, because they express criticism, sometimes with words, sometimes only with the language of images.
In my opinion, Hermann Waldenburg corresponds with his photos of the Berlin Wall Art with the saying he prepended his book, because he shows, that something so ugly and inhuman as the Berlin Wall, also can be very artistic and, yes, also can be beautiful in a specific manner.
The ISBN of the book is 978-3-89479-719-5 and costs 9,95 €. You can order it on the Homepage of the Nicolai Verlag.