Berlin East-West 1997-98


I started working on the project 'Berlin East-West' in the summer of 1997. In this project, I focused on photographing the area where the walls separated East Berlin from West Berlin. My initial plan was to create semi-documentary records of this area because of its former significance, although nowadays, there’s probably nothing noteworthy about it. I was curious to find out how the Berlin municipality addresses its past through new city planning. The concept of dealing with non-existing border-areas is linked to another idea - borders (especially those formed in the 20th century) are a matter of political definition (there’s a good chance that the landscape and the people living on both sides of the fence have a lot in common).
During the phase of the actual photography, I realised that the old grey buildings I was exploring resonated with the buildings and neighbourhood I knew from Kishinev, Moldavia (former part of U.S.S.R), where I’ve lived as a kid from the age of four to the age of eight. With this realisation came the understanding that I had no chance of finding a place similar to my childhood neighbourhood. However, I felt compelled to continue searching for my lost memories.
Thinking about memories, nostalgia, and their connection to my relationship with photography, I realized that the need to create "visual memories" (that photographs can provide) is stronger than logical thought. Confronting the desire for visual memories with the inability to fulfil it has fuelled my attitude towards photography for the past few years. I fabricated a purpose that would allow me to trace the memory map of my childhood experience. This disturbing awareness has led me, eventually, to photograph mainly the backyards of houses, as if the camera could record the fictional tension I was experiencing, as if the wall was still there.