The back of the Berlin Wall was colourful! You can see this for yourself at the Centre of Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim until the 22 December 2009. The institute is featuring a photo exhibition by Piet Joehnk who captured colourful graffiti, comical slogans and surrealistic scenes from the western side of the Berlin Wall with his camera in 1986. The exhibition is open to the public Mondays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Since the Berlin Wall came down Joehnk's photographs have become a unique document of history. The photographs prevented the colourful paintings from disappearance with the wall. In a bold, unvarnished and naive way, the graffiti, scenes and slogans deal especially with the Cold War and the division of Berlin and Germany. Joehnk's photographs have turned the graffiti art on the wall into works of photographic art.

As a highlight of the exhibition, there will be a special appearance by Piet Joehnk at the ZEW on the 9th of November 2009 - the day the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago. This will offer the opportunity to talk to the photographer and discuss the pictures and their historical meaning.

By exhibiting the photographs of the wall paintings the ZEW intends to address those who are usually not in touch with economic research. "ZEW originally intended to present art by young talents like Dina Draeger or artists from the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region like Manfred Fuchs. As it is the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, we will exhibit the photographs of wall paintings by Piet Joehnk this year", says Thomas Kohl, ZEW Director of Business and Administration.

Picture gallery of the vernissage


Thomas Kohl, Phone: +49 (0)621/1235-111, E-mail: