The Berlin Wall divided a city and stood as an icon of the Cold War for almost three decades. It stretched nearly 100 miles until it opened in 1989 and the last of it came down three years later. Just a few traces remain—small sections kept as historical landmarks, guard towers dotting the city, and less obvious signs, like groves of young trees growing where it once stood—to remind us of what it once was.
These remnants are the focus of Diane Meyer’s Berlin. On foot and by bike, she traveled the path the wall once followed through the city, photographing spots that show the structure’s lingering imprint. Then she embroidered over the printed images, bringing the wall back to life with needle and thread.
“I was just struck by how the landscape still has the weight of the wall,” she says. “And the embroidery speaks to that looming memory.”
To find her way along the wall’s route, Meyer used a walking trail the city established in 2006. In spots where the path veered off because new structures or buildings got in the way, she used an app that gave the exact location.
“While I was following the wall everyone was just out and about and sometimes it was hard to imagine that two big walls stood there just a little while ago,” she says.
Much later, Meyer printed her images and began stitching directly on the photos. She doesn’t obscure the scenery where the wall once stood. Instead, she carefully matches the colors of her threads to what’s on the photo, creating a sort of pixelated, semi-translucent wall. ….