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built/unbuilt - Columbia College, Columbia, MO 2017-2018

The Berlin Wall was a permanent structure separating East and West Berliners from August 13, 1961 – November 9, 1989. The Wall evolved to physically divide and ideologically symbolize many things for many people, including acting as a physical representation of the Iron Curtain. On the evening of November 9, 1989, the fall of the wall was broadcast around the world through live news feeds. The Wall exists today in fragments dispersed across the globe. The fragments operate as remnant, memorial, symbol, artifact, reminder, art, image, barrier, warning, reconstruction, history.

 

The United States boasts the largest collection of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany in locations such as universities, government agencies, hotels and museums: Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in New York City and the Newseum in Washington, DC. Representations of historical events (photos, objects and documentation) facilitate a dialogue reminding us that history is a construction which evolves over time, regardless of attempts at preservation. By deconstructing and analyzing the way the historical record is fabricated, my work reveals the futile nature of preserving an accurate history.

 

This exhibition presents a personal collection of artifacts from 1990 & 2017 displayed on museum mounts and photographic images from the Eastside Gallery in Berlin, Germany, taken in 2017. I was a young American artist growing up in Germany at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The evolution of my understanding and experience of the Berlin Wall had an important impact on how I navigate historical reconstruction as an artist.

 

In addition, a 30 foot long quilt is installed on a wide, concave wall and proclaims a quote by Walter Benjamin pulled from the collaged text of the Arcades Project: ”Knowledge comes in lightning flashes. The text is the long roll of thunder that follows.” The Arcades Project, published after Benjamin’s death, was assembled, curated and ordered by several editors as a fragmentary reconstruction of notes and collected quotes from 1927-1940.

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