Photo Credit: © Victoria Lucas
This photographic series archives thirty-two staircases situated in the twenty-four underground train stations on the U8 line in Berlin, Germany. The images are the result of an interest that has spanned four years, since Victoria Lucas temporarily relocated to Berlin in 2008 to undertake an art residency. The transient nature of the city of Berlin is echoed in this underground network of spaces. Artists, musicians and tourists arrive and depart from the city as frequently as the trains pass through the stations. Berlin promises a utopian dream, a place in which to enrich existence; a refuge for the nomad artist and non-conformist ideals. It is steeped in a unique and complex history that is still recent enough to be present on the city’s surface, and on the faces of the native residents who travel through Berlin amongst the ephemeral hordes. The act of photographing these typically animated spaces during a brief moment of stillness, evokes a feeling of absence as the imagery is examined. The empty, deadpan images with their gritty aesthetic allude to the fleeting movements of their former temporary inhabitants, and their voices, scents, thoughts, flesh. All of these elements have dissipated within and beyond the tiled and concrete boundaries; lost to time. Void of any human presence, the photographs resonate a history of transition though the accompanying litter, filth, worn paint and graffiti.