West Berlin 1985 - 1990 Berlin in my memory is a long night, a wintery and raw landscape. The wall was omnipresent – the physical wall made of concrete, 165 km along the border. The confusion, not always knowing if I was outside or inside of the cage. The wall inside my soul – loneliness, the lack of warm human contacts, isolation. The hundreds of selfies I took during this period – just with the hope of finding myself again.
Life in Communist Czechoslovakia choked me, oppressed me. I wanted out. At any cost, out. In 1985 I finally got permission to emigrate. I won over the system. I was free. I was in West Berlin. And - I felt lost.
Tokyo 1978; 1986; 1999
Roma Settlement, Levoca. I have come back. My last visit here was 20 years ago. I sit in the kitchen of Anna Kokyová (84) opposite a shabby mirror in which the clock runs backwards. “Chav! Besav! Pijav!” “Eat! Sit! Drink!” she keeps on saying, and I have my fifth cup of coffee and sixth glass of juice. There is no money in the house and the coffee was brought in by the neighbors. Nevertheless, she won’t take money from me, and the groceries that I brought are only grudgingly accepted. Outside, a crowd gathers. Everyone wants to see the photos I have brought and they want to have new ones taken as well. Mothers with children all dolled up, young girls in disco outfits. They’ve become poor but their dresses have remained important to them. It takes a long time before I am done with all the photo taking, what with all the kids pushing their faces forward to be in every picture. The third day I am no longer the carnival attraction and can freely explore the place.
At age 19 I haphazardly left the safe world of school for the night shift at the factory. I found myself drawn in, liking it, fraternizing with my coworkers and realizing the bleak, dirty, polluted and dishonest face of real socialism.
"During the early nineteen-eighties, Prague was a rather run down and sceptical city, though it was still an active frontier of the sleepy Brezhnev communist period”.
On Kampa Island (Prague) there were still amazing tall elms. I was studying photography. The people in my photographs are mostly only distanced and from behind. I was so shy ...
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