Diane Meyer - Berlin
Exhibition from July 4 to September 26, 2021
These images are from a completed series of 43 hand-sewn photographs that were taken along the entire circumference of the former Berlin Wall.
Sections of the photographs have been obscured by cross-stitch embroidery sewn directly into the photograph. The embroidery is made to resemble pixels and borrows the visual language of digital imaging in an analog, tactile process. In many images, the embroidered sections represent the exact scale and location of the former Wall offering a pixelated view of what lies behind. In this way, the embroidery appears as a translucent trace in the landscape of something that no longer exists but is a weight on history and memory and creates a view of past and present in a single image. I am interested in the porous nature of memory as well the means by which photography transforms history into nostalgic objects that obscure objective understandings of the past. By visually referencing pixels, a connection is being made between forgetting and file corruption. The images were taken in the city center as well as the outskirts of city where I followed the former path of the wall through suburbs and forests. I was particularly interested in photographing locations where no visible traces of the actual wall remain but where one can still see subtle clues of its previous existence. Often the embroidered sections of the image run along the horizon line forming an unnatural separation that blocks the viewer. This aspect of the sewing emphasizes the unnatural boundaries created by the wall itself.
© Diane Meyer, Berlin
This work was selected as a winning series for OpenWalls Arles 2021, a collaboration between the British Journal of Photography, 1854 Media and Galerie Huit Arles.
About the Artist
With a BFA in photography from the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California at San Diego, Diane Meyer has been interested in photography since high school, but it wasn’t until after her brother’s accident that the young photographer began to question memory and nostalgia; the difference between the memories the brain chooses to store and those represented by external elements. The doctors are not sure that her brother will regain his full brain capacity, so the artist sets out to revive some of his memories with the help of family photos. She then rethought the photographs that represented her life, and the series Time spent that might otherwise be forgotten took shape, combining some of her childhood photos with photos captured by herself, for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The artist bases her work on all the incongruities revealed by the new structures built after November 9, 1989. Her work thus turns to the architecture of the city, or how the Wall is still an integral part of the past, without leaving visible traces.