Star in the clo­set

Siegessaeule - - Tach Auch -

On Ja­nu­a­ry 10, Da­vid Bo­wie un­ex­pec­ted­ly di­ed of can­cer at the age of 69. Ber­li­ner ar­tist and sce­ne his­to­ri­an Wolf­gang Mül­ler (Die Töd­li­che Doris) says good­bye with a look back at Bo­wie’s im­print on our ci­ty

> “For the in­ter­na­tio­nal art sce­ne, West Ber­lin was a clo­set for old rags,“Günter Brus sta­ted, self-depre­ca­ting­ly, in 1970. The per­for­mance ar­tist had just be­en sen­ten­ced to six months for “deni­gra­ti­on of sta­te sym­bols“in Vi­en­na and fled to Ber­lin to seek re­fu­ge. That’s whe­re all the no­bo­dies, outs­iders, draft-dod­gers, les­bi­ans, gays and trans* gathe­red, cau­sing re­ac­tio­na­ry, nar­row-min­ded po­li­ti­ci­ans to co­in the collec­tive term “An­ti-Ber­li­ner“. Fa­sci­na­ted by Ca­ba­ret, the film ad­ap­ta­ti­on of Chris­to­pher Is­her­wood’s no­vel, Da­vid Bo­wie slip­ped in­to the mus­ty clo­set six ye­ars la­ter and re­inven­ted him­s­elf – and the who­le ci­ty at the sa­me ti­me. Just a ye­ar af­ter he mo­ved, the Ca­fé An­de­res Ufer opened at Haupt­stra­ße 157, next to Bo­wie’s flat. It was the first gay/les­bi­an bar in West Ger­ma­ny with a win­dow in front. He­re is whe­re I lan­ded a co­ve­ted job, whe­re Blixa Bar­geld met with art stu­dent Gu­drun Gut, whe­re Ta­bea Blu­men­schein, gla­mo­rous star of the les­bi­an sce­ne, joi­ned my band. Bo­wie was a fre­quent vi­si­tor of the fac­to­ry floor of her best fri­end, fa­shion de­si­gner Clau­dia Sko­da. You could spot him el­sew­he­re, too: the bak­e­ry, bi­king around town, at the Dschun­gel or at his fa­vo­ri­te bou­tique, John Glet – a world-fa­mous star strol­ling in­to a shop for work uni­forms at Meh­ring­damm 27, in­con­spi­cuous and ba­re­ly no­ti­ced. A fri­end of mi­ne on­ce saw him whi­le ri­ding on the S-Bahn: “He sat di­rect­ly across from us, rea­ding an Eng­lish news­pa­per. We we­re both pro­bab­ly around 15 and be­gan soft­ly sin­ging, ‘Ground con­trol to Ma­jor Tom…’ he slow­ly lo­we­r­ed the news­pa­per, quick­ly win­ked at us and jer­ked the pa­per back up.“In Bo­wie’s world, Ot­to Mül­ler’s ex­pres­sio­nist pain­ting Lie­bes­paar zwi­schenGar­ten­mau­ern ( Lo­vers­bet­ween­gar­den­walls) from 1916 met the pre­sent day in the form of the Ber­lin Wall: ‘“He­roes“‘. Af­ter Bo­wie and Lou Reed brought the tall, gray bor­ders in­to an in­ter­na­tio­nal pop con­text, a French Bo­wie fan was in­spi­red to co­ver a wi­de stretch of it with an ex­plo­si­on of co­lor – the Ber­lin Wall be­ca­me gro­tes­que pop art. Si­mul­ta­neous­ly, the Neo-ex­pres­sio­nism of West Ber­lin con­que­red the in­ter­na­tio­nal art sce­ne, the Wil­denMa­ler. In his own in­s­pi­ring way, Da­vid Bo­wie de­con­struc­ted mu­si­cal boun­da­ries as well as tho­se of iden­ti­ty and gen­der, al­lo­wing a new form to emer­ge: the re­sult was a Ge­samt­kunst­werk bet­ween high cul­tu­re and pop mu­sic, with las­ting ef­fects on our reality, in­clu­ding all of its un­rea­li­ties. < Trans­la­ti­on: Jo­ey Han­som

Bo­wie re­inven­ted him­s­elf

... and the who­le ci­ty at the sa­me ti­me

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