"Tommaso Bonaventura - 100 brands - Berlin 2019", is an artistic project by photographer Tommaso Bonaventura, developed in collaboration with the curator Elisa Del Prete , on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (9 November 1989). The exhibition presents the story of the Begrüssungsgeld, the welcome money that GDR citizens received from 1970 to December 1989 when they entered West Germany for the first time. This story offers a starting point to question oneself about an epochal change starting from an observation point that favors private and family stories, returning them through a double story: photographic and video.
The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between different institutions and is divided into several locations: in Turin, in CAMERA - Italian Center for Photography and at the Savings Museum, in Trento, in the Gallerie headquarters of the Trentino Historical Museum Foundation and in San Vito al Tagliamento in the church of San Lorenzo thanks to the collaboration with the CRAF - Center for Research and Archiving of Photography.
The simple question "Do you remember how you spent your Begrüssungsgeld?" posed to a sample of Germans of the former GDR of different generations, interviewed during 2018 and 2019, it represented the starting point for a journey into the memory, still little shared today, of these people who have experienced a total change, both from a material, work, social and economic point of view, as well as a political one. If the fall of the Berlin Wall laid the foundations for a new political and geographical world order marking the end of the Cold War, the reunification between East Germany and West Germany still remains a complex phenomenon and little discussed in its deepest aspects. Often solved in a simplistic way as the crowning of a foregone desire for freedom, the overcoming of the physical boundary that symbolically coincides with the demolition of the wall inevitably brings with it the need to also overcome an ideological boundary.
On November 9, 1989, not only the Berlin wall falls but an entire country changes: the part that rejoins its origins undergoes an inevitable metamorphosis and a way of living, thinking, behaving, dressing, spending quickly vanishes. In a very short time the German Democratic Republic is removed from the imagination and from memory. Almost 17 million people suddenly find themselves immersed in a new lifestyle, where the rules learned until then no longer apply. The transformation is sudden. In government policies and in people's daily lives, the new alphabet of the West is affirmed, its colors, its smells, its economic and social policies, and what were two distinct communities coexist.
Tommaso Bonaventura comments: "I was interested in opening a dialogue with people, often of my generation, who suddenly experienced such a radical transformation of their lives, that they had to reinvent themselves a new existence with new codes, new rules, who had often struggled against the dictatorship in their country, but who did not think they would see it disappear overnight. "
The result of the research will be a photographic story that, intertwining with the narration of these biographies, aims to return a contemporary Berlin made up of faces, places and stories that are not taken for granted, which has remained a symbol of one of the most significant events in recent history, still alive and present in the city, urban and social fabric. The research has in fact focused on Berlin as an emblem of this change, but also a city in which the physical and "mental" presence of the wall, which has so strongly marked people's experience, somehow remains.