STIK: "Its obvious that we had to, we were doing a project about the Berlin Wall, we had to bring the Berlin Wall."

Thierry Noir: "Yeah, the piece we're creating it's a dialogue between 1989 and 2019."

STIK: "Me and Thierry discussed whether these figures were gonna be facing each other or looking out, and we wanted some kind of symbol to show an interconnectedness between the past and the future.

Thierry always talks about not repeating the mistakes of the past. And so this makes a connection between the past and the present. So we wanted them to be sympathetic towards and each other and creating this, the space between the figures in the diptych. And I took measurements, so for example I took this measurement here and I put it into my composition here. And the width of the body here, matches Thierry's body here. And the hand, these hands, I tired to connect the fingers with the positioning of the hand.

So, and the top of the head is the same height, so I wanted them to inhabit the same world. They're kind of from two different times, but in the same world."

Thierry Noir: "Yeah it was a big inspiration with STIK, so we can communicate it and I can learn from him, he learn from me. That's the best. When you work together you can take something from the both sides.

In April 1984, spontaneously I start to make a painting on the wall. And then the next day everybody wanted to know something about that. Questions and questions and the first one was 'who gave you the money for this?', 'are you a spy from France?', 'Who is manipulating you?', 'Are you from the FBI?' I said 'No, no no!'

The danger was every time behind the wall. So it was important first, not to paint alone or to paint in touristic places, like Checkpoint Charlie or Potsdamer Platz. That was a good help because a lot of people had cameras with them. But near my house it was not so dangerous because I knew every corner of that neighbourhood. Five meters before the wall was officially East Berlin so it was easy just to jump away, I was young at that time. Young enough to run away. The Wall was not an art project, it was a deadly border.

And to live like that enough artificial life it was not funny every day."

STIK: "It's amazing knowing that Thierry risked his life to paint the Berlin Wall. Pretty much under the noses or armed border guards. You know most street artists have got stories of being chased by the police and security guards and Thierry was doing that under the watch of border guards so that's pretty hardcore.

Thierry was painting whilst Keith Harring and Jean Michel Basquiat were active. So, you know, he's part of that era of street artists. So I'm engaging with history not just on a physical level but on an artistic level. That's why this project feels so right."

In 1980s Berlin, street art painted on the Berlin Wall was a form of artistic resistance and political commentary.

French artist Thierry Noir lived in a squat near the Berlin Wall and began painting on it in 1984, the first artist to systematically paint long stretches of the wall.

'The danger was every time behind the wall…I was young at that time, young enough to run away,' he recalls.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, he has created a new work with his friend and fellow street artist STIK. The pair have painted directly onto two original pieces of the Berlin Wall, recovered from Berlin especially for the installation.

Wall features two figures facing towards each other, the 'past engaging with the present'.

'I hope our collaboration on the Berlin Wall will highlight the importance of connection between people through times of division and change,' says STIK.

Wall was on display outside IWM London until 1 December 2019. 

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