Today I went to the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I booked the tickets so long ago I almost forgot about it entirely but I’m very glad I didn’t.
The exhibition is interactive, on entering you are given a headset which understands where you are and plays the appropriate music or interview. It is very clever and I was impressed how well it worked given the number of people taking in the exhibit at the same time.
The exhibition consisted of interviews and archive footage of Bowie throughout his career from being 17 and campaigning about the prevention of cruelty to men with long hair to the present day.
There were also examples of his drawings and sketches together with hand written lyrics for some of his best known songs. Standing listening to Bowie singing Starman whilst you read the handwritten lyrics line by line was an unusual experience.
There was information on some of his best known costumes, where he got the inspiration for them and even a copy of a dressmaking book containing his measurements. I loved seeing the costumes, some of which I recall seeing on TV or in pictures but seeing them up close was different, they are a slightly different colour or you see something with more detail than before. I loved the Alexander McQueen Union Jack coat, if I hadn’t seen it up close I might not have seen all the small tears in the fabric which added to the look.
The insight into how David works was very interesting. The way he draws inspiration from what he is reading, films, TV, music and art. He sees more in the world than most people and that can only be a good thing.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is an interesting place to visit and I recommend it if you have never been. The architecture is wonderful, you don’t see many buildings like it.
The exhibit was located near the inner courtyard which was full of people sitting on the grass enjoying the sun and children swimming in the water area. It’s nice to see people making the most of the weather and the facilities on offer.
We crossed the courtyard to find the way out when we came across the food area. Walking along the corridor to find the exit I came across a room with an incredible ceiling and bowed stained glass window. It stopped me in my tracks it was so stunning. It was one of the seating areas for the food stalls, next time I visit I will make sure I stop there for a bite to eat so I can fully take in the architecture.
I will definitely be spending more time visiting the museums in the area, If for nothing else that the fantastic architecture in the South Kensington area.
The modern buildings of today will never be as inspiring to me as the molded marble statues, high vaulted ceilings, gargoyles and stonework that our predecessors have left as a mark of their skill. Whilst modern architecture does have its own constraints and merit the ability to create a building as wonderful as the V&A with only rudimentary technology compared to that available today is something to be admired.