/ Peace Wall

Developed and produced for Berlin Biennale 7

Site specific art project exhibited at 226 Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, Germany.

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The Friedrickstrasse and the position of the Peace Wall (red line)

The Peace Wall was a barrier that was 12 m long and 5.5 m. high, consisting of concrete blocks, steel frame structure, MDF panels and corrugated metal panels. It blocked the traffic on Friedrichstrasse between 02.04.2012 and 15.06.2012 and provoked reflections and discussions about socio-economical barriers within modern cities.

Site before the ‘Peace Wall’ was installed

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The view of the Friedrichstrasse, before the Peace Wall was installed.
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Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse, 200 meters from the Peace Wall site.

At the southern end of Friedrichstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg, London-based artist Nada Prlja erects a 因peace wall.吒 Despite its immediate associations in a formerly divided city, her public art project Peace Wall (realised within the framework of Berlin Bienalle 7, 2012) doesn’t refer to the historical Berlin Wall, but to the social segregation present in this area today. Friedrichstrasse is a major shopping street and North-South axis, which runs from Torstrasse in Mitte to Hallesches Tor in Kreuzberg; before 1989 it was also bisected by the Wall. Today a large part of the street is filled with posh boutiques and fancy restaurants, but at its southern end this gives way to a ‘problem’ neighbourhood with social housing projects (once located on the periphery of West Berlin), high unemployment rates, and a population with up to 70 percent migration backgrounds.

This ‘invisible’ partition, which exists today in the middle of the city, is marked by the construction of Prlja’s Peace Wall, which visualizes social and economic inequalities, the existence of ‘parallel societies’ in the city, and the positions of the advantaged and underprivileged. Perhaps it is no surprise that the process of getting permission to erect this work was blocked by different interest groups and community members, including school authorities and private and public bodies. The very location of Prlja’s wall represents the space where certain communities lose their ability to influence the decision-making process, and makes concrete the necessity to fight for their rights. It is also a place where one of the anti-gentrification battles in the city failed.

The project*s many references include Northern Ireland’s policy of building 因peace lines吒 to prevent conflict between the Republican and Loyalist factions, the current wall building operations in Cyprus or the West Bank, as well as the phenomenon of gated communities, which have sprung up all over the world to segregate the wealthy from the poor. With this wall, Prlja points to the realities of the existing and growing economic and social segregation lurking around the corner.

Writen by: Artur ŻmijewskiJoanna WarszaBerlin, 2012

(This introduction was first published in the catalogue of the Berlin Biennale 7, Berlin, Germany, 2012.)

Building of the ‘Peace Wall’

 

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Installation of the work Peace Wall
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Installation of the work Peace Wall

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Peace wall Nada Prlja 2finished 04
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja

‘Peace Wall’ installed on Friedrichstrasse

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On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
BB7 05 05 12_0040
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-069
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-067
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the westside of Berlin and hairdresser’s shop next to the wall.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-041
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin and neighbouring shops furniture second hand shop, barber’s shop and Klik stationery shop.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-012
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-035
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Mauer-II-004
On this image: Finished artwork, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Martin Zint
Mauer-II-120603-40
On this image: Two weeks after the work was installed, the image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin a toy left in front if the wall after a festival.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: unknown

First meeting at ‘Peace Wall’

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On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Martin Zint
Mauer-II-185
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Martin Zint
Mauer-II-168
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-161
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-145
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-144
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-138 (1)
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-133
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-112
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-104
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-093
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski
Mauer-II-092
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Martin Zint
Mauer-II-088
On this image: First meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski

 

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On this image: After the first meeting between residents, Biennale curators and organisers, local NGOs and political parties, one week after the installation of the work. The image is showing the side of the wall that faces the east side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Artur Żmijewski

01.-15/06.2019 Nada Prlja stayed at the Friedrichstrasse

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On this image: Nada Prlja in the local coffee place in front of the west side of the work.
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On this image: Nada Prlja in discussion with residents, three weeks after the installation of the work. The image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Minolta DSC
On this image: Nada Prlja in discussion with residents, three weeks after the installation of the work. The image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja

 

img_8374
On this image: Nada Prlja in discussion with residents, three weeks after the installation of the work. The image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
img_8372
On this image: Nada Prlja in discussion with residents, three weeks after the installation of the work. The image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja
Screen shot 2012-09-25 at 21.20.39
On this image: Nada Prlja and Zdravka bajevic (Berlin Biennale) in discussion with residents, three weeks after the installation of the work. The image showing side of the wall that faces the west side of Berlin.
Peace Wall
Nada Prlja
2012
Site specific public art project
13 x 5 x 1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. 
Exhibited at Friedrichstrasse, Berlin as part of Berlin Biennale 7
The work is kept as a set of 25 documentary colour photographs.
Courtesy: Nada Prlja. Photo: Nada Prlja

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Some of the last days of the ‘Peace Wall’

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‘Peace Wall’ by Nada prlja, 2012,  Site specific public art project, 13x5x1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. Photo: Nada Prlja

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‘Peace Wall’ by Nada prlja, 2012,  Site specific public art project, 13x5x1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. Photo: Nada Prlja
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‘Peace Wall’ by Nada prlja, 2012,  Site specific public art project, 13x5x1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. Photo: Nada Prlja (detail)
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‘Peace Wall’ by Nada prlja, 2012,  Site specific public art project, 13x5x1.5 m. Metal, MDF panels, paint and concrete blocks. Photo: Nada Prlja (detail)

 

Dismantling of the ‘Peace Wall’

Peace wall Nada Prlja 1building 08Peace wall Nada Prlja 1building 07

After the ‘Peace Wall was dismantled photo with the school children that us to come and draw on daily basis to the Wall

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Nada Prlja reopened old wounds by building a new wall

07 16 2012 SvD KULTUR

Excerpts from an Interview with: Ricki Neuman, SvD Kultur, newspaper, Sweden, Monday 16th July, 2012

A new wall in Berlin has raised international acclaim/attention, led to questions about where the border lie between the intrusion of art into the sphere of everyday/daily lives 〝 and has resulted in protests, which in the end led to the fall of the new wall. &I am pleased (satisfied)* says the artist Nada Prlja.&The installation made things happen, and that is what I wanted/hoped for*.

This spring, the artist Nada Prlja allowed herself to interfere with people*s everyday lives, hindering their movement through the city, by means of a long, thick and high wall in Berlin, right in the middle of the well-known Friedrichstrasse; this ugly metal construction stopped the traffic on the road, but allowed pedestrians and cyclists to pass by the sides of the wall. The installation was part of the city’s Art Biennale, which this year had chosen politics as its theme; and was also supported by the city*s mayor. He approved and supported Nada Prlja’s proposal, sympathizing with her good intentions and with her belief that the under-privileged must stand together and join forces in order to be heard.

The latter represents the artwork’s raison d’etre; it doesn’t offer any particular aesthetic or visual values, but instead it represents political art whose aim is to set certain processes into motion.

&This is exactly where Friedrichstrasse changes its character, you can see it yourself 〝 it starts over there at Kochstrasse*, she explains, pointing in that direction, as we stand next to her wall, which most of the time is surrounded by people who are either photographing or discussing it, and others who are laughing and shaking their heads, as they observe the graffiti, or read the advertisement posters on the wall.

&This is exactly where the area becomes poor; where there are more turkish than german residents, and where it is more &east* than &west*. There really is a wall here already, one which reminds us of the old one, but one which cannot be seen. I am making it visible, but only for as long as the duration of the Biennale.*

Alot is underway around us. Someone is putting up a new poster. A number of cuyclists have chosen the wall as their meeting place. Several small boys are playing ball against the wall. An older woman sits on a nearby park bench, making drawings of the wall.

At the beginning of May, before the wall was built, Swedish Radio asked the artist how she expected the people on the southern, poorer part of the street, to react to the wall, what they would think of it 〝 and she answered: &I hope they are going to hate it*.

In part, it has become so. Many people loathe the wall. A group of shopkeepers complain that they have had fewer customers, ever since one has to drive a detour in order to arrive as intended. A group of residents say that they are disturbed by the wall, as makes them feel enclosed, as if they were living in a ghetto.

About eighty people from both groups have formed an organization demanding that the wall is immediately dismantled. They have had meetings with the directors of the Berlin Biennale, with the local politicians, as well as with the mayor himself.

In the end, their protests were successful: the wall was brought down on the 15th June, two weeks before the end of the Biennale, before the time it was meant to be removed.

&I agreed with it, of course,* writes Nada Prlja in a later email. But couldn*t they have waited another two weeks? &Yes, One could of course ask oneself that, but that would be focusing on the wrong thing. The important thing is that a community group was created, that the organization was active, managed to change something, felt their strength and won a victory.*

The artist was thereby forced to complete her project ahead of time, but she was nevertheless satisfied, as a result of all the debates and discussions which had been generated by the presence of the wall, as well as all the letters, emails and phone calls she received 〝 and because of the formation of the citizens organization, which will perhaps become a force to be reckoned with,  in Berlin.

Where is the limit of how much trouble the artist may expect people to accept?

&It*s all about getting the balance right* responds Nada Prlja, in an email. &Drivers were forced  to make a detour. The wall eliminated a few parking places. The city/street became a little less efficient. And the citizens probably felt a little bit frustrated for a while. But on the whole, it wasn*t a very large intrusion. In return, something was set into motion.

That is how I work: the aim is to offer people an alternative point of view, a new perspective, by changing something in the city – but as an artist, not as a politician or as a social worker. I have been doing this for a long time. Sometimes it works, and at other times it doesn’t Tilted Arc. Another heavily debated wall was Richard Serra’s &Tilted Arc, which was positioned on a plaza in Manhattan in 1981. The sculpture made it difficult to cross the Federal Plaza; it was perceived as being ugly and intimidating, obscuring the sun and attracting rats. After several months of heated debates, the authorities decided to tear down the steel wall, which was cut down into three parts and removed  in the spring of 1989.

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