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The world's first retrospective of the pop and style icon David Bowie arrives in Berlin
The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is reflected in mirrors of an installation at the "David Bowie" exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin, seen during a preview on May 19, 2014. The retrospective that was on display at London's Victoria and Albert Museum before will be running in the German capital from May 20 to August 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE.

BERLIN.- From 20 May until 10 August 2014, the international exhibition David Bowie will be shown at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. This brings the spectacular show of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), one of the most successful exhibitions in the long-standing history of the London museum, to the banks of the Spree River. The retrospective David Bowie creates a comprehensive audio-visual exhibition experience using multimedia technology at the most advanced technical level.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London was given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie - one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. The exhibition David Bowie explores the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades.

The V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh selected more than 300 objects that were brought together for the very fi rst time. They include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, fi lm, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork.

David Bowie in Berlin
Due to Bowie’s close ties with the city, the exhibition’s station in Berlin is one of the highlights of its international tour. The Berlin years from 1976 to 1978 were among Bowie’s most productive ones. It was here that he made music history. The so-called “Berlin Trilogy” – which includes the albums Low (1977), Lodger (1979) and his magnum opus Heroes (1977) – was inspired by the capital and in part recorded at the Hansa Studios near Potsdamer Platz. Berlin provided Bowie and companions such as Iggy Pop the room to experiment with radical avant-garde personas. By fusing fashion, music and performance art, life and art merged into something entirely novel.

The city’s rich cultural past and the buzzing subcultures of the 1970s provided further inspiration. He was fascinated by the omnipresent historical forms of expression in architecture and art and felt particularly drawn to the artists of the Brücke movement. The famous lyrics of Heroes demonstrate how thoroughly he contemplated Berlin. The song is about two lovers who kiss at a wall. Here, Bowie processes his own observations and impressions of the 1920s Expressionism. In Berlin, Bowie also shot Just a Gigolo, the last fi lm that featured Marlene Dietrich. An additional section was exclusively curated for the exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau and shows the profound connection between Bowie and Berlin.

The exhibition
The main focus is on the diversity of David Bowie’s work and the close interplay of various disciplines and modes of expression. His music and radical individualism were not only influenced by movements in art, fashion, design and contemporary culture, but Bowie left his own mark on them as well. The exhibition David Bowie retraces the career of this exceptional artist in great detail – from David Robert Jones’ early years as a young London artist until he became the global superstar Bowie. 60 stage costumes are presented, including the Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972), Kansai Yamamoto’s extravagant designs for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973) as well as the iconic Union Jack coat that Bowie designed together with Alexander McQueen for the album cover of Earthling (1997). Among the objects are also photographs by Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, Masayoshi Sukita, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts and John Rowlands; album covers by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell, clips from films and live concerts, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Saturday Night Live (1979); music videos of such songs as Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and Let’s Dance (1983); the stage set for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974); unpublished storyboards, hand-written set lists and song lyrics, word collages as well as drawings, notes and diary entries from Bowie’s personal collection.

The exhibition David Bowie was curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Curators: Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, Department of Theater and Performance

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