A Woman in Love with the Berlin Wall

Today I visited the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum in which is one of the venues for the Berlin Biennal. I have not been at all impressed by the Biennal though I enjoyed two pieces at the sculpture park - a sound piece by Susan Hiller and a video by Lars Laumann  about a Swedish woman who is in love with the Berlin Wall and claims to be married to "him". Here they are pictured together.


At first I found Laumann's film a little funny. The subject of the film who refers to herself as Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer says things like "This is my husband...his job was to divide East and West Berlin. He's retired now." However as the film progressed I found my self feeling more and more uneasy and disturbed by what I heard.

I felt a mixture of pity and anger towards this woman. Pity because she has convinced herself that the Berlin Wall loves her and has closed herself to the possibility of being in a real, mutually loving relationship. This delusional relationship with the wall is perhaps motivated by fear of rejection or the trauma caused by a childhood rejection - a person can tell you they don't love you but a wall cannot.

The only other person in Mrs.  Berliner-Mauer's life who is featured in the video is an American woman who she has met through the internet. This other woman is also in love with the wall. As you can imagine this caused some friction. They were able to justify their love for the same object as Ms. Berliner-Mauer fell in love with the complete wall in the 60s whereas the American woman fell in love with the wall post-unification. I imagine these woman are very good at justifying the illogical to themselves.

I felt angry when she spoke of the Berlin Wall entirely disconnected from its political and ideological function. She says she is "not interested in politics". She spoke of the distruction of the wall as a tragedy and showed complete disregard for the impact her  "husband" had on other people's lives.  I was also angered by the fact that she is deluding herself and missing out on an important part of life. Though in retrospect it seems unfair to be angry with someone who clearly has a mental illness.

She seems to be and claims to be happy with her situation. Maybe she is and maybe I should not criticise her for that. She says in the video that she is not hurting anyone with her love of the wall. This is hard to argue with though she may be harming herself with her delusions.

Her website can be found at http://berlinermauer.se/