Production view: painting and packaging of false souvenirs.
This is Not the Berlin Wall
Hand-painted false souvenirs of the Berlin Wall made from Soviet-era buildings and rubble in Poland, to be inserted into the market as the "real" thing. Produced on-site using locally-sourced materials, children's poster paint, and color laserjet prints.
Part of a month-long residency at Kronika Center for Contemporary Art in Bytom, Poland, this project is one in an ongoing series of works exploring the economic and cultural aftereffects of the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Using visual source material of commercial souvenirs found on Ebay, these inauthentic replicas find their origins in the detritus and remains of Soviet-era urban construction -- hospitals, roadways, apartment buildings, and municipal areas.
Twenty-five years after the reunification of Germany, the fall of the Berlin Wall has come to symbolize the triumph of Western liberal capitalism over Soviet communism, with the promise of economic gain for Eastern Europe blown into epic proportions. Berlin Wall souvenirs are commonly sold online, at tourist shops in Germany, and fetishized in America as icons of "freedom." The narrative of this economic freedom belies the more complicated realities of competition, globalization, recession, labor, and debt.
Two types of packaged souvenirs have been produced, with more in the works, and reflecting the myriad ways this story of capitalism has been commodified.
Meant to be quietly inserted into the souvenir marketplace, the small pieces that comprise This Is Not the Berlin Wall are interruptions in this smooth narrative of capitalism, showing the fabrication of both myth and reality.
Culled from rubble sites in Krakow, Posnan, Bytom, and Warsaw, Poland.
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