WALLS BETWEEN PEOPLE
from 24 September 2008 to 25 January 2009
Open from 10:00 to 17:00, except Tuesday – admission free
Throughout history, human beings have built fortifications to protect themselves from “barbarians”. Coldly designed on the basis of military maps, these eight modern walls illustrate a specific geopolitical divide:
– The Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea
– The Green Line that divides the island of Cyprus
– Peace Lines in Northern Ireland
– Berm, a wall of sand that crosses the Western Sahara from north to south
– The Fence built between the United States and Mexico
– Barbed wire around the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and of Ceuta in Morocco
– The electrified Fence along the Control Line between Pakistan and India
– The Security/Separation Wall between Israelis and Palestinians.
The exhibition, based upon the book “Walls Between People” by Alexandra Novosseloff and Frank Neisse, presents them in a unique way by the artist Robert Ireland. Throughout the exhibition visitors become familiar with photographs and testimonials, whilst physically experiencing the presence of the walls.
Between protection and separation
In the short term, a wall fulfils the functions of protection and safeguarding. But alone it cannot guarantee effective protection. It must itself be guarded. In fact, it protects less than it separates. Beyond security and protection, the objective is separation from one’s neighbour.
Between resignation and circumvention
The wall is first perceived as an insurmountable obstacle. Over time, ways to get round it are devised. The appeal of the other, the dream of another world and of somewhere else better often override the dangers of crossing the rampart.
« The temptation of a wall is nothing new. Every time that a culture or a civilisation does not manage to consider the other, to consider itself as with the other, to consider the other within itself, these rigid barriers of stone, iron, barbed wire, electrified fences or closed ideologies are built, demolished and then return to us with new stridence. »
Quand les murs tombent, Edouard Glissant, Patrick Chamoiseau, éditions Galaade, Paris, 2007, pp. 7-8