Karl Marx Allee Shadows – by Robert Lindenberg

On Shrill Cats today is a unique black and white series documenting the Karl-Marx-Allee of East Berlin, by photographer Robert Lindenberg in Germany.  Karl-Marx-Allee is considered to be one of the most iconic streets of the former GDR. It was named Stalinallee on Stalin’s 70th birthday in 1949. Later, in 1961, its name was changed to Karl-Marx-Alee. Built between 1952 and 1960, the boulevard is lined with monumental wedding-cake style apartment buildings. For decades, parts of the facades have gradually fallen off, so that the sidewalks have now been secured by meshes attached to metal posts attached to the buildings. The structures clearly are a source of irritation regarding the facade composition. However, the poles and meshes cast shadows on those facades that are compositions in their own right.

Editor’s Comment:

The expired black and white Agfa Scala film perfectly brings out the character of this series.  In these photos, the beautiful geometric compositions arranged in familiar but abstract orientations are kept at a distance behind the imposing metal fences.  A street with not a soul in sight, a place where light and shadow contextualized by the presence of the buildings act as protectors of this storied place…  One cannot help but wonder if we are protected by the metal fences, or kept locked away behind them awaiting imminent warning from the decaying facades.

 

Credits

Photographer: Robert Lindenberg

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