To use and manipulate iconic pictures as material for stencil based street art has a long tradition (that is if street art could be said to have a tradition of any length at all). Take Che, Mona L., Winston, Marilyn, Albert, Michael, Georg, etc. Not to talk about the war photos – napalm, Viet Cong, Iwo Jima… As to of the pic above, it is located right beside a toilet seated version – by Snurre – of Rodin’s thinker – another icon.
I find this tradition rewarding, but more than a little bit worn out. Banksy – of cause a favourite and sort of an icon himself – has done a lot of them. So have many others. However, I have not yet seen a version of Hans Conrad Schumann jumping the barbed wire of early Berlin wall. As a disclaimer, I have to say that it may be due to negligence from my part. Anyway, even though using such icons is not my regular cup of tea, when the idea of Hans playing hopscotch came into my head, it was impossible to get rid of.
Originally, it is a nice shot of a soldier defecting from DDR at the possibly cost of a bullet in the back. At least if it is not staged. There are some circumstantial evidence pointing in that direction, «Young man risking his life running from the bad Russians, with a photographer and escape car waiting». Like Sgt. William “Old Shoe” Schumann from the movie «Wag the dog». The name resemblance is probably no coincidence.
It is hard to fathom that the Berlin wall lasted over four decades. Still the German reunion and the bringing down of the wall have left prime spots for city development and at the same time kept the rent low in central areas. This has made Berlin to one of the most vibrant and exiting cities – also when it comes to the street art scene. So, nothing’s so bad as not to be good for something.
In Berlin I’ve spent most of my time in the old east. I have some great memories of Russendisko at the Kaffee Burger. Ideological I would have preferred if Hans had jumped east. Some sort of eastalgia I suppose. Naively so by a westerner never exposed to the Stasi and the other dark elements of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. But still…