• The Other Side

    Bertien van Manen

  • The Other Side

    Bert Verhoeff

  • The Other Side

    Vincent Mentzel
    Leipzig, DDR, 1989

  • The Other Side

    Piet den Blanken
    Military Parade of the 'Volksarmee' in Berlin for the 30th Anniversary of the German Democratic Republic in 1979

  • The Other Side

    Hans van der Meer
    Budapest 1985

The Other Side

12 Dutch photographers in the world behind the Iron Curtain, 1979 – 1989

Vincent Mentzel | Bertien van Manen | Bert Verhoeff | Hans van der Meer | Piet den Blanken | Sabine Joosten | Ad van Denderen | Hans van den Bogaard | Bert Spiertz | Ton Broekhuis | Leo Erken | Ad Nuis

On the 9th of November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell down, a dramatic symbol of the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe into two blocks for nearly forty years. Now, twenty-five years later, twelve Dutch photographers look back on the work they made in Central and Eastern Europe between 1979 and 1989.

In his famous Fulton speech of 1946, Winston Churchill introduced the notion of the Iron Curtain as an imaginary borderline between the Communist Eastern Bloc and the Capitalist West: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”  After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Communist system in Europe quickly came to an end; and the differences between both worlds gradually blurred.

The Other Side, now twenty-five years on, brings together twelve prominent Dutch photographers, all of whom documented the period prior to and during various revolutions in the former Eastern Bloc countries. They were witnesses to historical moments, such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the emergence of the Polish trade union, Solidarność, and the Romanian revolution. Yet, they also captured ordinary everyday life. The entirety reveals a surprising and multifaceted view of the Eastern Bloc at the time.

The analogue work, in black and white and in colour, bears the signature of the photographer, registering the way he or she photographed at the time. This exhibition couples the historical significances of these events to a broad overview of Dutch photojournalism in the 1980s and early '90s. All of the photographers exhibited are still alive and kicking, and together they form a mainstay for a new generation of documentary and journalistic photographers.