Beyond reach

In memory of all those who lost their lives due to the GDR border regime, 1961-1989

Ethna O'Regan

In this work I take the viewer on a visual journey using landscape as a metaphor in order to create a feeling of remembrance for the victims of the Berlin Wall.

If one now embarks on a journey on foot or by bike along the 99 mile-long so-called Mauerweg (Wall Trail) that marks the former border between West Berlin and East Berlin / Brandenburg, one is struck by the abundance of lush growth and woodland around the circumference of the city. This is due to the current policy of letting nature take over where the death strip used to be.

But as I travelled along the trail I now and again came across memorials to people – often male, often young – who lost their lives trying to cross the border from East to West. The poignancy of these reminders of a now almost forgotten past motivated me to explore further and let my photographic record of the landscape in all its innocence tell the story.

It is with awe and sadness that I went along the Mauerweg and I wish to dedicate this work to the memory of the victims of a painful history.

Ethna O’Regan (1971, Galway, Ireland) studied photography at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). She had her first solo exhibition in the m3 Kunsthalle, Berlin in 2009 and also showed at the Goethe Institute, Dublin as part of ‘New Irish Works’ in the PhotoIreland Festival, 2013. She has produced photographic series in Ireland, America, Germany and the Ukraine and has exhibited them internationally. O’Regan has been nominated for the Berlin Art Prize, 2014, EI Award Braga 2015, Shortlist Athens Photo festival, 2015, 2016 and Shortlist Eva International, Ireland, 2016. Her first photobook ‘Beyond Reach’ was published by Kehrer Verlag in October, 2019. Her work ranges from the personal to the social and political, identifying moments where these states coincide.