TO THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILS
2013, Oil on Italian Linen, 100 x 180cm
Three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall I stood before this, the Soviet war memorial in Berlin’s Tiergarten, watching goose-stepping Soviet soldiers play out the final act of the Cold War pantomime.
Built (according to the urban myth from the rubble of the Reichstag) just months after the end of WWII in the western part of Berlin, it was a tiny pocket of the east inside a walled west that was itself encircled by the fortified east. For most of its existence the monument was protected by soldiers, a cosseted enclave within an enclave within an enclave, acting as a microcosm of the charade being writ large by the Allied and Soviet powers in the world’s most fraught, and pointless, rivalry.
Now the soldiers are long gone and where they once marched, weeds grow. Somehow, it seems appropriate.