Under a grey blanket

Berlin, 9. — 19.11.1984. Old World Apes

‘On the morning of 9 November 1984, at Gatwick Airport, together with a close friend, I boarded a British Airways flight to Berlin Tegel.

The images that appear in the pages of this publication were taken over an eleven-day period in the divided city of Berlin. The batch of 35mm negatives from which the images came, dating from November 1984, were presumed lost, only to re-emerge in the autumn of 2019.

In January 2020, using the same Olympus OM-1 SLR and Ilford FP4 film stock, I set out to produce a photographic series documenting the interior office space of the last guardhouse to stand at Checkpoint Charlie. Today, this relic of the Cold War is to be found on the outskirts of Berlin within the grounds of the Allied Museum in Zehlendorf.

I had made several visits to the museum’s archives over the following twelve months, which revealed artefacts dating from Berlin’s pre-unification period. During these visits, I had numerous conversations with the museum’s curator of the American collection, which led to an invitation to organise the institution’s next temporary exhibition that commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin.

The resulting project, ‘Berlin – City of Relevance’, was documented, again using the OM-1 SLR.

Being an avid reader of the British music newspaper New Musical Express throughout the 1980s and having forgone the 10 November 1984 issue due to the early morning flight to Berlin, pages from a rescued back issue appear alongside images from ‘Berlin − City of Relevance’ in the centre of this publication.’ Rick Buckley, Artist.

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