Berlin Wall with German Grass & Skies
Berlin Wall with German Grass & Skies II
acrylic on canvas
152.5 x 213.5 cm
Notes on this work
The day after I got married the East Germans built a wall through Berlin, using pre-cast concrete slabs that were to have been the sides of workers' flats. I first saw the wall in 1971, ten years later, and went specially again to see it last December before starting work on the pictures. No popularly available images exist of the East German side and my painting therefore only shows fragments of the structure seen from the West (as is after all appropriate): the other side is not in any case 'The Berlin Wall' but 'the anti-fascist defensive wall' (now more warmly described as 'the state frontier of the DDR in Berlin'). Grass and sky however occur freely on postcards produced both in West and East Germany. Some places have associations: e.g. one of the sections shows grass from Goethe's garden brought from East Germany, in postcard form, by my wife). The three borders that frame the wall, grass and sky in the large picture are catalogues; the centre strip lists all the colours used, in order (bottom left to top right) of their use; the inner border lists the terminal mixtures for each section, and the outer border is an optical mixture of these mixtures which tries to present as one colour the sum of all the colours used in the work. The random calibration of the centre border preceded the rest of the painting and determined the number of colours to be used in each section.
Apart from obvious ironies I am not quite sure how the picture now relates to the wall, its source. It certainly represents the way I see and understand that phenomenon.
Works Texts to 1974 p.186