Confrontier by Kai Wiedenhöfer
One of my favourite books of 2014. I was lucky enough to see the accompanying exhibition at Newcastle’s Side Gallery and was deeply moved with this extraodinary body of work.
In 1989 Kai Wiedenhöfer photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall in his hometown. At the time, Wiedenhöfer, like many, believed this event would mark the end of walls being employed as political tools and dismissed them as anachronistic instruments of division. Over twenty years later, history has proved us wrong; indeed walls have enjoyed a barbaric renaissance. Border barriers have been erected in the US, Europe, and the Middle East in the aftermath of political, economic, religious and ethnic conflicts.
Wiedenhöfer has documented walls in Belfast, Ceuta and Melilla, Baghdad, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the American-Mexican border, Cyprus, Korea as well as the remains of the Iron Curtain. Confrontiers presents Wiedenhöfer’s comprehensive project and evidences his conviction that walls are not solutions to today’s political and economic problems, but proof of human weakness, error and our inability to communicate with one another.