Monday, November 19, 2012
Checkpoint Charlie Drypoints
In the late 70's when I was studying in Germany for six months, I traveled into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie. I remember how nervous I was. Especially upon returning through the gates back into West Berlin I feared that my one purchase of a hardcover book on Albrecht Durer would be confiscated. The militarization of this liminal zone was stark. I had heard about the number of people who had tried to cross over the wall from the east and were shot. East Berlin was desolate, and people were not out on the streets. There was an air of tight surveillance and lack of freedom of movement. These drypoints are small white ink prints on black paper, sketchily drawn from actual historic images of Checkpoint Charlie. They are ghostly reminders of the ideological stranglehold that pervaded that time period. Could they also be somehow familiar even in our present-day politics?