The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains
Last week saw the opening of the long anticipated The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains presented by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Michael Cohl’s Iconic Entertainment, to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album, ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ and their debut single ‘Arnold Layne’. The exhibition will be on until October 1st 2017.
(click on photos to enlarge)
All images ©The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains presented by London’s V&A and Michael Cohl’s Iconic Entertainment; Sound experience by Sennheiser; (13 May 2017 – 1 October 2017)
This exhibition is an audio-visually journey through the last five decades, originally conceived by the late Storm Thorgerson and developed by Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, with Pink Floyd’s own Nick Mason as consultant. Sennheiser provides the individual audio equipment for you to enjoy the words and the music at your own pace. From meticulously collected early artefacts from their recording career to a huge assembly of their instruments, from rarely seen TV footage and voice recordings of David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and the late Richard Wright telling their story, to several interactive, floor-to-ceiling installations by designers Stufish, including ‘The Wall’ with the gigantic scary school teacher looming over the set, a scaled down replica of Battersea Power Station complete with floating pig and the 6-metre-high ‘metallic heads from the cover of their album ‘The Division Bell’. Another highlight is a pitch black room with a holographic image bringing the famous prism of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ to life.
Tributes to their early years include a large size Bedford van, just like the one that used to transport them from gig to gig, psychedelic posters from their time at the UFO club and of course a special tribute to Syd Barrett. I also loved the phone boxes designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott, scattered throughout the exhibition they contain newspaper articles, books and memorabilia from the relevant eras, giving their music a context to the years they were recorded in.
The exhibition also showcases the huge efforts that went into designing those iconic stage shows and album covers, with photos, drawings and blueprints, especially with the Hipgnosis design partnership of the late Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, as well as illustrator Gerald Scarfe, architect Mark Fisher, engineer Jonathan park, animator Ian Emes and lighting artist Marc Brickman.
Before you and leave through the (excellent!) gift shop, you get a chance to visit the Performance Zone, an immersive audio visual space which shows footage of the last ever performance by all four members of the band at Live 8 with ‘Comfortably Numb’.
My personal memory of the band doesn’t go quite back 50 years to 1967, but I remember only six or seven years later listening to their albums whenever I visited my best friend who had an older brother who was a huge fan and I also recall being bitterly disappointed when my parents wouldn’t let me go on a school-organised trip to see their ‘Animals’ concert in Dortmund. It was in the middle of winter, so fair enough. But ever since those days in the early to mid Seventies I have been a fan and their songs were part of the background music to my youth and my twenties and thus very special to me.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Saturday to Thursday: 10.00 to 17.45, Friday 10.00 to 22.00
Admission: £20 (Monday – Friday), £24 (Saturday & Sunday), concessions available
Free to V&A members. Please book in advance.