Tuesday 26 March 2013

David Bowie Is: New Exhibition Opens At The V&A in London

Striped body suit designed by Kansai Yamamoto for  David Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane tour. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita

The spectacular new exhibition of David Bowie's life and work has opened at the Victorian and Albert Museum in London, reports Jeanne-Marie Cilento

ALREADY the most popular show in the V&A’s history, the exhibition’s pre-sale tickets reached 50,000 prior to the official opening on Saturday. A party was held at the museum earlier in the week and actor Tilda Swinton gave the opening speech, representing the absent Bowie. Swinton has just appeared with him in the new video for his single The Stars Are Out Tonight

The V&A’s curators were given complete access to the David Bowie Archive to create this first international retrospective of the singer's creative ouvre. The multi-media exhibition shows how Bowie developed into a pioneering and influential performer. It explores the creative processes behind his musical innovation and his role as a cultural icon as well as his style and capacity for reinvention across five decades.

Curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh selected more than 300 objects from the Bowie archive for the show. Bowie’s art work and musical instruments are exhibited along with his handwritten lyrics and original costumes plus the photography, film, music videos and set designs showing his concerts, films and fashion. 

Bowie collaborated with many artists and designers in film, art, theatre, fashion and music. Some of the pieces on display include Ziggy Stardust bodysuits from 1972 designed by Freddie Burretti, Kansai Yamamoto's Aladdin Sane tour outfits, a Union Jack coat co-designed by Alexander McQueen, photographs by Brian Duffy, album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell and Bowie’s cover of 1997's Earthling album.

Excerpts from Bowie’s films and live performances such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, music videos like Boys Keep Swinging and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour  in 1974 are all on display. The evolution of his creative ideas are shown with storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics as well as some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores and diary entries.

Along with the extraordinary interest in the London exhibition, David Bowie’s recently released new album 'The Next Day' went to the top of the UK album chart and became Bowie's first number one in Britain since 1993's 'Black Tie White Noise'. 

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane 1973. Photograph by Brian Duffy
Photo collage of film stills from The Man Who Fell to Earth by Studio Canal 
The Thin White Duke performing on stage his Station to Station album 1976

David Bowie photographed in Munich in the 1970s wearing a tweed suit with flared trousers and carrying a leather jacket

Bowie in Nicolas Roeg's 1976 film Man Who Fell to Earth 

One of the exhibits at the V&A show in London 

After his glam period, Bowie created the chic, minimalist look of the Thin White Duke 

 One of the large multi-media exhibits in the show with films and videos of Bowie's  performances
David Bowie and his wife Iman photographed for a Tommy Hilfiger fashion campaign

David Bowie collaborated with Alexander McQueen on the Union Jack coat for the cover of the 1997 album Earthling 
Part of the new exhibition showing Bowie with The Kon-rads band in the 1960s.

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