David Bowie is… a blockbuster traveling exhibition created in partnership with Gucci and Sennheiser, through 11 August 2013 at the V&A. Advance ticket sales have topped 40,000 and set a record for the museum.
London, UK — The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) 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. David Bowie is, open since March 23, 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 include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork.
Exhibition Designers and creative team
Design and film production company 59 Productions led the exhibition design in collaboration with Real Studios. Previous commissions include the video design for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony as well as for the world-wide theatre production War Horse and multiple productions for the Metropolitan Opera New York. The company were also behind the design of Sigur Rós singer Jónsi’s critically acclaimed world tour.
Other members of the creative team include sound designer Gareth Fry, who teamed previously with 59 Productions on London 2012, dha design (lighting) and the Sennheiser Application Engineering Team led by Norbert Hilbich and Robert Genereux.Sennheiser International Recordings Applications Manager Gregor Zielinsky created the special mix for the 30-minute concert loop in the second gallery.
The exhibition explores the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film. On display are more than 60 stage-costumes including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant creations for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973) and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the Earthling album cover (1997). Also on show is photography by Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill and Masayoshi Sukita; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; visual excerpts from films and live performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Saturday Night Live (1979); music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and Let’s Dance (1983) and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974).
Alongside these are more personal items such as storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics as well as some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores and diary entries, revealing the evolution of his creative ideas.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said: “David Bowie is a true icon, more relevant to popular culture now than ever. His radical innovations across music, theatre, fashion and style still resound today in design and visual culture and he continues to inspire artists and designers throughout the world. We are thrilled to be presenting the first ever exhibition drawn from the David Bowie Archive.”