Berlin 1984, Stillstand + Provinz

An exhibition of Ralf Bäcker and Thomas Willke

After 40 years, it's time for us to show our material: images, sound recordings and exposed 16mm film material from West and East Berlin in the 1980s. Here we filmed, photographed and created sounds with incredulous curiosity.

What does the material presented in the silent green garden look like?
A lot of everyday life in the stuffy West Berlin of the early 80s. Little to be seen of subculture, rebellion and new ideas. In contrast, indifference, incomprehensible philistinism and preserved post-war dreariness. Nothing moves, the main thing is cheap. Sometimes warmth, often coldness. There is no sign of a cosmopolitan city anywhere. We were surrounded by this small-minded cosmos, were fascinated, but also trapped. And during this time, we not only created a huge amount of image and sound material, but also the 16mm film Zurückbleiben! (Stay back!)

At the beginning of the 80s, we still didn't know what the real trigger for our creative frenzy was: ‘The others are the mirror in which I look at myself, which makes me realise who I am’ (Ryszard Kapuscinski).

With this project, we are taking the old material back to its place of origin. Do the residents recognise themselves? Has anything changed at all in the past 40 years? And if so, for the better? We don't really know, but the audience will tell us.


Funded by Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst

September, 8–15
10 am–20 pm
Free admission