This photo essay is an archaeological experiment: it studies things – lace curtains – used by a certain group of people – Berliners – in order to show who they are. Though oblivious to most people, the lace curtains send out messages. At first glance they seem ugly, tacky, sometimes even barbaric, the textile equivalent to sauerkraut with bratwurst. But eventually you will start to love them. Because tackiness, when taken to extremes, can acquire a poetic dimension!
The purpose of this “lace-curtain fashion show” is to delight the eye and to intrigue the mind: these lace-curtain pictures are in reality proxy portraits of Berliners and their lifestyles! This documentary also complements the novel “The Games”. There is a character in it called Rainer-Werner Sprengberg who photographs lace curtains. These are “his” curtains.
The lace curtains shown here are only a very small sample of what is available. There are literally hundreds of different kinds. To those who will make it to Berlin, it’s like an appetizer. To the majority who won’t, it’s the only chance to experience this wonderful example of textile poetry.
I photographed the curtains in the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neuköln. I identified eight different “families” or “collections” of windows. I named them after streets in the Görlitzer Park area of the Kreuzberg neighborhood. This doesn’t mean that all the lace curtains in a given collection were photographed in the street the collection is named after.