If dandysm is defined broadly as a cult of self that requires the mise en scene of one’s life, David Bowie is to me the ultimate dandy as he went as far as staging his death. Along the way, he gave unprecedented access to his archives to the Theatre and Performance curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh for the blockbuster exhibition “David Bowie is…” that took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013 before touring internationally. The exhibition revealed that the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology made the musical retrospective a viable possibility by allowing a complete immersion in the artist’s universe. I wanted to pay tribute to this tour de force as I went to visit “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains“, an exhibition that uses the same model.
Victoria Broackes is again at the head of the curatorial team that is bringing the same immersive experience for the first international retrospective of Pink Floyd. The show coincides with the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn‘. It starts with the psychedelic underground London scene that saw the start of the band’s journey and makes you travel swiftly alongside them over time.
The first rooms are quite dense as they lay the foundations for what’s to come. From their writings to their sense of performance, a lot is encapsulated there, giving a glimpse into the band’s working methods. The museum’s staff at the information desk and inside told us however not to spend to much time, a hint at the impossibility of thoroughly looking at the show within the allotted time. The “Dark Side of the Moon” gets the attention it deserves. Released in 1973, it spent over 17 years on the American Billboard 200 and is still one of the best selling albums of all times. The album cover is a simple yet bold graphic by Storm Thorgerson
Sprinkled throughout the exhibition, one can see the connection between the band and visual arts from Hokusai to Rene Magritte via their high sense of performance.
Their political stance is also present with their texts that are still relevant today and acts such as the wall that are unfortunately current themes. I was lucky enough to see The Wall built at the 02.
All in all, it is therefore not too surprising that Roger Waters of Pink Floyd opened is American tour in Kansas City with a strong political statement.
The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, Until October 1st, 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
To get tickets, click here