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With a Sewing Machine at Kottbusser Tor (Kotti): A Publication and Online Exhibition about Berlin’s Fashion Icon Claudia Skoda

18.12.2020
Kunstbibliothek

The Claudia Skoda: Dressed to Thrill special exhibition, which would have opened today in the exhibition hall at the Kulturforum in Berlin, will likely be postponed until spring 2021 because of the pandemic. Nonetheless, an extensive publication and comprehensive online exhibition already in place invite visitors to explore the life and work of this icon of the West Berlin fashion and underground scene.

The black walls have been painted with glitter, Martin Kippenberger’s catwalk installed, and many photographs already mounted on the walls. Although Claudia Skoda’s large-scale solo show, organised by the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, is almost complete, it has had to be postponed until spring 2021 because of the current situation. However, with the help of the recently published exhibition catalogue and an online exhibition created in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, visitors can now immerse themselves in the West Berlin fashion and underground scene of the 1970s and 1980s.

About Claudia Skoda

Claudia Skoda (b. 1943) continues to revolutionise our understanding of knitwear fashion with her extraordinary designs after having played a major role in shaping the look of the 20th century. Her spectacular fashion shows caused an international sensation as of the mid-1970s. Skoda’s living and working community, fabrikneu, in Zossener Straße in Kreuzberg, was a meeting place for West Berlin’s bohemians. This circle, including musicians, artists, fashion designers and friends such as Martin Kippenberger, Ulrike Ottinger, Tabea Blumenschein, David Bowie, Luciano Castelli, Esther Friedman, Malaria!, Kraftwerk, Jim Rakete and many others, joined in generating the adventurous energy and legendary zeitgeist of the late 1970s and early 1980s in West Berlin.

Online Exhibition at Google Arts & Culture

In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, an accompanying online exhibition has been created that introduces Claudia Skoda’s oeuvre with numerous photographs. From her beginnings at fabrikneu in Kreuzberg to her performance-like concept fashion shows, her collaborations with creative associates, and her characteristic knitwear and unconventional designs, the online presentation reveals Claudia Skoda’s pivotal influence on the 1970s and 1980s West Berlin fashion and underground scene.

This introductory overview is part of an ongoing collaboration with Google Arts & Culture that has been in place since 2011. It aims to make objects, topics and histories related to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s 15 collections available to an even wider audience to facilitate worldwide communication about the richness of art and culture. The online exhibition about Claudia Skoda is just one example of the diverse digital content offered on Google Arts & Culture by the Kunstbibliothek and ten other institutions that are part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Exhibition Catalogue

Representing the first comprehensive monograph on Claudia Skoda’s work, the publication accompanying the exhibition issued by Verlag Kettler, Dortmund, is now available in bookstores. The abundantly illustrated catalogue shows Claudia Skoda’s great versatility. Authors Heidi Blöcher, Fiona McGovern, and Esther Ruelfs, together with Britta Bommert and Marie Arleth Skov, curators of the exhibition, have been thorough in their research, surveying photographs, press clippings and film recordings in Claudia Skoda’s archive and conducting interviews with the designer as well as with acquaintances, associates and contemporary witnesses. The catalogue also contains a special insert: a personal homage in the form of a letter from Wolfgang Joop to Claudia Skoda – handwritten and hand-drawn. 

The catalogue is also available online in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Online Webshop: German/English bilingual version, hardcover, 248 pages, more than 200 illustrations; ISBN 978-3-86206-829-6; retail price 42 euros. 

To coincide with the publication of the catalogue, an online trailer with original Super 8 footage of the 1977 fashion show Pablo Picasso and the 1983 song “Danceteria” by Claudia Skoda has been released:

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Online Digital Content

An overview of all of the online digital content offered by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is available at www.smb.museum/online-angebote.