Today, Berlin is celebrated around the world as a magnet for creative talent. But many people do not know or have forgotten how this came to be. In the 1980s, the island city surrounded by the Wall was a sanctuary for musicians, artists, avoiders of West Germany’s mandatory military service, and other outsiders, who were inspired by Berlin’s distinct atmosphere. Berlin winters were cold, long, and especially delirious. When the Wall fell, an unparalleled vacuum of authority was created that further fueled the city’s already uniquely free creative climate.
The American artist Danielle de Picciotto moved to Berlin in 1987. She was there when the Love Parade was founded and infamous clubs such as Tresor and E-Werk opened their doors. For decades, she witnessed up close the upheaval in the city and the evolution of its underground from post-punk through techno to the mixed experimental creativity of today. She was a part of this transition and experienced how societal changes influenced and changed the city and its inhabitants over the years.
The Beauty of Transgression is Danielle de Picciotto’s memoir of Berlin. The book brings together her accounts of musicians, fashion designers, and club owners as well as other artists and their milieus with unique first-hand descriptions of milestone places and events. It is not only a fascinating collection of stories about key individuals, but also gives an authentic and detailed overview of why Berlin has become one of the most appealing metropolises for creatives from around the world.
Danielle de Picciotto’s intimate text and personal selection of images penetrate through hype and commercialization and make The Beauty of Transgression a uniquely genuine documentation of the creative history of Berlin’s underground.