Lecturer, Curator, Coventry

Personal statement

"For me growing up in 1960s and 70s Britain the Iron Curtain was a visceral element of my family life. My father was an exiled Polish serviceman; his homeland and family locked behind the barbed wire. They couldn’t come to us, so we simply went back and back. Our family holidays, car trips into the traumatized heart of divided Europe. I ingested these epic journeys, until they became a part of my being.

At the East German border point at Helmstedt/Marienborn, we entered a ghostly, antiquated forbidden zone which has tugged at me all my life. In the 1980s I lived in West Berlin and regularly crossed the Wall and wandered the GDR with a pocket Sony tape recorder, gathering impressions and making friends.

In the 1990’s, Bob Rutman and his "Steel Cello" became a visceral part of my artistic life and offered me a way to process and share these impressions in multi-media performances. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, provided an opportunity for creative reflection on those days and to explore the weird pun that the Steel Cello is a form of Curtain made of Iron, with others, with similar concerns." (Adrian Palka)