Once upon a time, it was really wild. Since there were no rules, but a lot of space. Money was no object, people’s time was engaged with the realization of dreams. Everybody was talking to each other, developing ideas that then by no means disappeared in the drawer, but were implemented immediately.
What sounds like a fairy tale, back then was reality in Berlin. At that time, after the wall came down, a state with all its rules just ceased to exist. And the new state, coming in from the west, still wasn’t present. The borders were open, and East Berlin evolved rapidly into a Mecca of art devotees from all over the world. No, there were no art devotees, not even artists. Just human beings who were at the right place at the right time. They were not overwhelmed by the freedom that suddenly showed up, but immediately took advantage of this very freedom.
How long this time lasted is not exactly clear, but the photo book Berlin Wonderland – Wild Years Revisited 1990-1996 roughly estimated 6 years. Maybe it was even less, but what by then teamed up on possibilities, what feeling of life there was, is very plastic when you contemplate the photos of Ben de Biel, Hendrik Rauch, Philipp von Recklinghausen, Stefan Schilling, Hilmar Schmund, Andreas Trogisch and Rolf Zöllner apparently. Seems like only boys had a camera at that time, such a contrast to present days. There were simply no mobiles, no cell phones at all, and therefore no culture of snapshots for everybody. Documentation was simply not hip.
The chic book published by bobsairport with the bright colors in contrast to these brilliant b/w photos and the pretty unusual Typo is a piece of jewellery that probably no one would have taken in hand at the time. Because there simply was no time for mere viewing, because it was constantly on the make. And it is particularly beautiful that this is more than a photo book. Short quotes deepen the former way of life to match the photos. As Hardy Hardenberger: “In 1993 I applied for a telephone connection. In 1996 the telephone company wrote me a letter, that the connection is wired now.”
The book succeeds to reopen this intense time and to heave back into consciousness. After all, this creative period characterizes the image of Berlin as an open, tolerant city until today. Even if the open spaces are now extremely reduced and, at least in Mitte, the approach is much more bourgeois. It’s fun, stimulating and is not merely sentimental, to look at this book.
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